Agency Experience Score (AES), is measured by the results of the Allstate Customer Experience Survey (ACES). A minimum of 40 responses on a 12 month moving basis is needed in order to qualify for the Customer Experience Component of the new variable compensation program that began in 2013.
If you achieve all of the Agency Success Factors, you are eligible for an additional 1/2% commission payout for the Customer Experience Component.
We cannot report on whether the new measurement has a greater level of validity than the old ALI score, however, we will note one major improvement. Thus far, the company is not using AES as a reason for agent termination, as it did with the ALI score.
Following are ideas from agents to help improve your AES score. We hope one or more of these will work for you.
Two primary goals:
1. Increase the number of customers that respond to the survey. Higher response rates will provide a better sampling of your customer base because more of your “satisfied” customers will participate, diminishing the effect on your score from negative responses from customers who are unhappy with price increases.
2. Illicit more positive responses from customers taking the survey.
Increasing the number of responses:
Preliminary notification: Customers are more likely to respond to the survey if they have been notified and/or personally asked to take the time to respond. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this goal. You can utilize TaG, Automatic Response Technology (ART), an agency newsletter, a part-time telemarketer, or send a personal letter to all your clients. Obviously, your best and most effective asset for increasing AES is you, the agency owner. Customers generally respond most favorably when the agency owner takes the time to call – it makes them feel special and shows that the agent genuinely cares about their concerns. Whichever method you choose, remember to thank them for their business and offer to review/update their policies.
Offer an incentive: Many larger businesses will offer the ‘chance” to win a prize in return for completing a survey. Most agencies are small enough to actually offer a gift to every customer who returns the completed survey. Check out www.restaurants.com for gift cards from local restaurants that can be purchased at a significant discount, or work together with a local restaurant to print a coupon for a free entree with the purchase of another of equal value. You may even want to enclose a crisp, new one dollar bill with your letter as an advance thank-you for taking their valuable time to complete the survey. This may work best for agencies with fewer households. Spending a little money to achieve the extra payout may be worth it.
Use Psychology: Your letter or voice message should help prompt your customer to respond. Your customer likely views himself as helpful, kind and generous. If you know your customers really well, you could ask a question such as, “Would you do me a huge favor? Allstate is about to send out a survey that grades me as your Allstate agent. If you would complete the survey and drop it off at my office, I would be very grateful.” You will find that many of your customers will do it for you because they like you and want to help any way they can.
Another approach you can use is to contact your customers and ask them to call you if they receive the survey. Then, when they call, you can make them aware of how important this survey is for you.
The vast majority of your customers perceive themselves as good people. Most will help a friend in need. Don’t be afraid to appeal to this sense of goodwill and generosity. Don’t feel bad for asking. Chances are, you and your staff have gone above and beyond what is required to help them with insurance issues, so now it’s time for them to return the favor.
Illicit more positive responses:
Commitment and involvement: Use the customer’s allegiance to your agency to your advantage. They have trusted in you and your agency for a period of time, something they would not have done if they were not “completely” satisfied with your agency. Their assistance, in the form of responding to the survey, will assist you in further improving the level of service they receive.
Ask for Referrals: Your clients are more likely to give a positive rating to your agency if they have ever referred family or friends to your agency, So it is important that you begin to ask for referrals on a consistent basis. If you have never asked, you probably have an entire book of customers who cannot honestly say they have sent you a referral.
Long Term: Your customer contact program must be an ongoing campaign. Consistently ask your customers whether they are completely satisfied with your service, and if not, ask what you can do improve. Do this when you take a new application, and every time you help a customer with a policy change. Make sure all of your staff is doing the same thing. Set up a referral program that includes incentives such as a gift card or put the customer’s name in a drawing each time they send you a referral. Use a newsletter, or ART to say “thank you for your business,” offer policy reviews, and ask for referrals.
Check state and local laws regarding incentives and prize drawings.