It takes time and money to acquire new clients – you need to work just as hard to keep them. Right now, your clients are another agent’s prospects. You need a retention strategy that keeps you in front of your clients on a regular basis to avoid someone else luring them away.
Be the First to Make Contact After AEP
Traditionally, many Medicare agents wait a couple weeks after AEP to follow up with their clients, timing the first contact to coincide with when clients receive their ID cards. However, if you wait that long, you could be at risk of losing your clients to competitors. Especially at risk are new clients you have not yet established a relationship with. However, even your long-term clients are at risk – don’t take them for granted. Touch base with them early and often.
Medicare Call Centers Are a Threat to Your Clients
Your clients are probably familiar with the TV Commercials run by the 1-800 Medicare call centers during AEP, but they may be unaware that these call centers could be targeting them after AEP to try to enroll them in a different plan.
Typically, callers say they are from a carrier and ask seniors if they currently have an agent of record assisting them. Even if their answer is yes, the callers will continue, offering to find additional free benefits for seniors. Your clients may be unaware they are signing up for a new plan – and, if they do sign up, you will lose your commission. Your clients may end up with plans that don’t fit their needs. They may find their doctors are not in the network or their drugs are more expensive or not on the formulary at all.
Since the proliferation of these call centers, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has experienced a significant increase in complaint calls and several call centers have been fined for fraudulent advertising. Let your clients know that CMS is regulating these call centers by requiring them to submit their advertisements and marketing materials for approval before use. However, since this will take time, seniors need to be diligent to avoid falling for these tactics. Remind them to call you before making any changes.
Prove Your Value Throughout the Year
You need to stay in regular contact with your clients year round. Continue to stress the benefits of dealing directly with you to ensure they never have a reason to shop around. Prove your value by educating and advocating for your clients.
- Remind them you are local. You live in their community and are well educated on the plans and providers in your area. You will take the time to assess their needs to find the plan that is the best fit for them. Plus, you do all this at no cost.
- Provide ongoing education. Host an educational event on general topics. Meeting in person allows you to build relationships. Use this time to educate clients on Medicare scams and predatory call center practices to ensure they know what to do (and what not to do). Remember, if you create a Medicare presentation or are targeting a specific carrier’s clients, you have to file with the carrier and CMS. If your presentation is generic, this is not a requirement.
- Go above and beyond every time. Exceed clients’ expectations.
- Be easy to do business with. Answer your phone. Respond quickly to inquiries and concerns and resolve any issues promptly. Keep your name and contact information front and center throughout the year. Refrigerator magnets are a great way to do this.
- Use your CRM to stay organized and set up appointments to touch base often. This will make sure no one falls through the cracks. Set reminders for birthday greetings and other important dates.
Your goal is to forge a partnership with your clients to ensure they stay with you for years to come and become reliable sources for referrals. If you can do that, you will create raving fans and your clients will be walking advertisements for your business.
To build your retention strategies, Western Asset Protection is here to help. Your success is our business.