The Ultimate Sales Tool
Nothing sells better than providing a good product and great customer service.
The Ultimate Sales Tool by Laree Daniel
Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Ford knew a bit about serving customers. Times may have changed, but his theory about working together never goes out of style.
In my 20 years in the insurance industry, there have been times when the Aflac sales representatives and home office employees were all on the same team. Those were the good times. There also have been times when the two groups felt at odds; as a result, customer service was impacted.
When that happens, no one wins. Quality customer service doesn’t happen by mistake. It comes as a result of planning and working together. It comes from prioritizing what matters the most to our teams as they coordinate their efforts to enhance service and increase sales.
Here are my three tips for managing the relationship between sales representatives and the home office. They help Aflac provide excellent service.
1. View customer service as your way of preserving sales. Agents work hard to make a sale, and they want to keep the customers they have. So try to conserve their business. That sounds basic, but being able to demonstrate to a sales rep that preserving his book of business is as important to you as it is to him goes a long way. Keep sales reps informed about the activity of their customers, whether this involves customer calls, late payments, complaints or even kudos or positive feedback. An informed agent is a much more appreciated part of the team, and nothing speaks more loudly than high-quality service.
2. Equip your teams for success. At Aflac, we know that our sales agents are the primary contact with our customers; so we go the extra mile to ensure that they are set up for success. We work hard at the home office to remove roadblocks that hinder an agent’s progress. We give them tools to effectively manage their customers and grow their business. These include personalized websites and channels for our reps to expedite a customer issue if they are unable to resolve a concern without assistance.
We provide technological tools like our Real Cost Calculator, which is located at Aflac.com. It enables our agents to provide on-site information that may help them close a sale by demonstrating our concern for the customer and the quality of our service. These tools help agents serve our customers better and retain more of their business.
3. Create the right priorities. As one of our founders was often heard to say, “Nothing happens until there is a sale.” It takes more than being on the same roster—all parties must be focused on the goal, which is making and keeping sales. And nothing sells better than providing a good product and great customer service.
To that end, we have a program called The Aflac Way, which is a compilation of our seven Commitments and 15 Basics of Customer Service. It is essentially how we expect our employees to treat one another and our customers.
We take this a step further with The Aflac Way Awards Program, through which employees are recognized by colleagues and incentivized to go the extra mile for the good of the customer. At the risk of being redundant, good service and working together lead to increased sales.
As Ford points out, getting to a place where both parties are truly working together is a process, but if and when you can reach this point, success is easier to attain. Work in opposite directions, and failure will reveal itself with just as much ease. Laree Daniel is Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, at Aflac. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation.
Laree Daniel is Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, at Aflac. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation.
This article appeared in Advisor Today.