And How they can help or hurt your business!
Chances are if you have ever attended a conference to improve your business acumen, you’ve been surprised by the ease with which some of the today’s business leaders throw around complex jargon and acronyms out of The Wolf of Wall Street. Agents' inboxes flood with emails asking to download eBooks on “Improving ROI,” “Creating Lift,” and “Calculating LTV of Customers.” While it might ding our pride to admit it; some of these terms are just not in our day-to-day vocabulary. If we are to become elite businesspeople with a fundamentally sound business; we had better start incorporating these terms into our DNA as Agency leaders.
If you’ve ever found yourself staring at some of these terms unsure of how they impact your business, we understand. In this series, we will define ten terms under our thought pillars. Sales, Marketing, Business 101, and today’s topic: Retention. Give it a quick read and start to visualize how these terms can help you master retention for your Agency! Don’t worry, we won’t tell!
RETENTION is the art (and science) of keeping clients. Unfortunately, this part of running a successful for-profit organization can be left by the wayside for spending time, thought and dollars elsewhere. It can be hard to convince leaders that retention requires attention, let alone budget. If you’re on the fence about how to tackle retention, we recommend you start by understanding the KPI’s/Metrics behind retention, and how you can leverage them to grow your Agency and make more revenue!
CHURN RATE is something that all business leaders battle. Whether you’re an HR manager looking at company-wide employee churn, or an agent trying to understand how many policyholders/policies are lost per quarter; churn needs to be regularly identified and remedied. The calculation for churn is simple, yet it can be done incorrectly. Take the number of customers that you lost in a given period, and divide it by the number of clients you started within that time. Although you may be tempted to add net-new customers to show overall business growth, you would be missing the opportunity to use churn to help your business properly. You can calculate churn in any increment, but we recommend that you measure churn quarterly as a minimum frequency.
LIFETIME VALUE OF CUSTOMERS (LTV/CLTV) stands for “Lifetime Value,” and in this context, we’re looking at the lifetime value of our customers (CLTV). The CLTV can be calculated as customer value multiplied by our average customer lifespan. By executing this formula, we can identify the average value of our customers over their entire time with us using data.
Average Customer Value: The total Revenue generated from this client.
Average Customer Lifespan: Average years spent with your agency.
This metric is an absolute MUST for any business leader. For the insurance agent attempting to understand the value of their business in the immediate, intermediate and long-term, CLTV is invaluable. One way that we use CLTV to help with our work in retention is to aid in lowering our churn rate. We should be extra focused on understanding the CLTV for customers that are on the brink of churn so that we can concentrate efforts on retaining potential high-value defectors.
RETENTION/ATTRITION RATE is a “glass half full/empty” KPI. Whether you choose to interpret the movement of current customers as “lost” or “kept” is up to you, but you need to be measuring that change. Retention rate can be calculated as the total number of clients serviced by your agency divided by the number of customers who leave in a given period. In a perfect world, our retention rate would be 100% In reality; we need to prepare and fight to improve retention year-round, ensuring that we grow our businesses off of a stable foundation. A positive season for new business can be nullified by a poor season for retention.
REPEAT CUSTOMER RATE in the insurance world present themselves as multi-line/upsell/added coverage clients. Repeat customer rate can be calculated as clients with more than one purchase divided by total customers in a given period.While the concept of repeat customer/order/purchase tends to gravitate towards traditional product businesses, we have to recognize the high profitability of these customers and how they impact our bottom line. Studies show that even though repeat customers can make up less than 10% of our online customers, they are frequently responsible for over 40% of our revenue.
REDEMPTION RATE (RR) can be a challenging KPI to track and requires a little bit of legwork before it can even become part of your business. If some of these metrics seem elementary, consider this a “master class” teaser. What we measure here is the health of our rewards and loyalty programs. Do you send out flyers with gift card opportunities for policy renewal? Have you partnered with local businesses (car dealerships are a favorite for auto agents) to cross-promote? These strategies can be effective in motivating potentials to purchase, and clients to renew - but how do we know they’re working? The formula on this is simple. Divide the number of “points” issued (can use dollar values) by the number of points redeemed.
WIN-BACK RATE must be taken seriously by agents that want to become elite. Even if you grow your book tremendously, exceeding all of your goals, a poor win-back rate (or lack of a program at all) shows that you’re losing to the greatest competition of all; yourself. The win-back rate is defined as the number of attempted account re-opens divided by the number of successful “win-backs” or reopened accounts. For example, let’s say you add 100 lost accounts to a win-back campaign, and all accounts are qualified to be won back (actively still using the service you provide). After your campaign, you have reopened (won-back) 70 accounts. That effort would result in a 70% win-back rate. Here’s a little inspiration on where and how to start!
NET PROMOTER SCORE (NPS) is another more advanced metric that requires a bit of prep and infrastructure to execute. Trust us; it’s totally worth it. Unlike some programs that require a ton of time and legwork, establishing our NPS can largely be done with little time and a bit of technology. At its core, NPS requires that we ask two major questions:
#1. On a Scale of 1 - 10, how likely are you to recommend our service?
#2. Please describe the reason for your score.
The opportunity we have here is the chance to collect a quantitative data point (NPS) and associate those points with qualitative reasons as to why we are scored as such. Once we can segment our groups, we can look at detractor responses to question #2 for guidance on how to make their experience with our brand better. Plenty of NPS tools are automated, and they are easy to deliver via Email. There are tons of cheap ways to do it; even SurveyMonkey has a solid list of templates.
NPS is generally calculated as ; % Promoters - % Detractors.
REFERRAL RATE is an important metric to build over time. Referrals aren’t instant, and programs do not grow overnight, but the rewards can be outstanding. Established referral programs exist to activate
word-of-mouth advertising campaigns. While marketers continue to spend, spend, spend on varying channels, referrals, word-of-mouth, and influencer marketing have a unique value in our toolkit. By utilizing a referral-based offer delivery system, we can take advantage of our current customer networks and reputations. If we’re doing right by our clients, they will happily promote our work with minimal incentive.
Referral rate can be calculated as: Number of offers delivered divided by the number of referrals generated.
REPEAT PURCHASE RATE (RPR) probability is what it sounds like; RPP measures the percentage of customers that make repeat purchases with your organization. While the definition is simple enough, calculating and understanding RPP is dependent on industry and service. Fortunately, this metric is standardized in the Insurance vertical. What we need to do is divide the number of customers who have purchased with us more than once (we will define this segment as our multi-line customers) by the total number of our customers. If we were to mistakenly use policy renewals in place of multi-line in this calculation, we would end up re-calculating churn rate. Like Churn, it is appropriate to measure this frequently, as an increasing percentage indicates increased customer loyalty, and increased profit per customer.
Speaking of customer loyalty...
CUSTOMER EQUITY (CE) is the total value of all new client relationships in a given period. CE is one of those KPI’s that tends to live at the “Executive” or “C-Level” of our dashboards. While it might seem like actively interpreting this metric is a waste of time, the changes in CE can reveal insight into the overall health of your agency. To calculate Customer Equity, we need the total number of customers acquired in a given period. We then multiply that value by our average CLTV.
A proper CE example might look like this:
- Period: 2016
- New customers (‘16): 100
- Average CLTV: $1000
- CE 2016=$100,000
What’s more, we can now take our CE for 2016 and divide it by our agency-wide average LTV to find the percentage of total Customer Equity derived from our 2016 efforts. Customer Equity can be a unique and insightful way to project and catalyze growth.
That wraps the retention portion of EverQuote's Business Glossary for the Insurance Agent series. Be sure to stay tuned as we release lists for marketing, sales, and business operations. If you would like to learn more about the topic or series - contact the author!
About the Author
Matt Desilet is a creative marketing leader. Before EverQuote, Matt lead marketing and engagement at two Boston-based startups. At EverQuote, Matt focuses on finding ways that insurance agents can grow their agencies. Matt does his part by collecting and creating content that focuses on prospecting, sales, business operations and retention. Four essential components of the insurance agent's toolkit. When not in the office, Matt loves to travel, record music, and eat delicious food. Most of these adventures are made substantially better by his better half. As a Rochester, NY native; Matt will happily talk about Garbage Plates, Buffalo Wings, and ‘Bills football. Myers-Briggs personality type: ENFPFollow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Matt Desilet