Personal Communications Build Relationships and Sales
Recently, I celebrated my birthday and opened the annual birthday card from my Allstate insurance agent, the only time that I hear from her all year long since I'm set up on automatic bill pay. The greeting was generic and the only bit of personalization was the agent's signature.
In contrast, I received a birthday card in the mail from Mark Herdering who works with a cool Internet service called Send Out Cards. With this service, it's possible to personalize everything in a card which is delivered via First Class US mail. The front of my card from Mark featured Calvin from the popular Calvin and Hobbes comic strip running in the buff across the front of the card saying "It's Patrick's Birthday … Party Naked!" Inside was a picture of Mark wearing a party hat with my name digitally written across it. The message was in Mark's handwriting even though he did not write it himself. Send Out Cards has saved his personal font so he can use it whenever he sends out a card. Mark's card took no more effort to send my personal card than my Allstate agent yet its personalization gives me the idea that Mark really values me as a person.
But, cards are not enough to build business relationships. If my Allstate agent took the time to call me once a year (a logical occurrence would be the anniversary of when she wrote my insurance policy), she would have the chance to connect to see what's new. In so doing, she would solidify my loyalty. And, she would discover that I have other insurance needs such as increasing my life insurance policy or buying business insurance.
Allstate pride's itself on being "the good hands people" but its agents need to use their hands to write thank you cards and pick up the phone to call their customers to ensure that their sales continues to grow.