Breaking Down The Barrier To Better Customer Relations
The question of “who owns the customer” is one for the ages. Many agree that when asking a registered representative and a large insurance carrier this same question, both will claim ownership.
So, one would think that two entities with the same customer would be able to work together to help build on that customers loyalty to both–that is, the rep who sold the product and the company that created the product.
According to experts, however, that is not always the case.
“Agents have a responsibility to their customer to actually teach the customer; this is why the agent is still strong in life and annuity insurance,” says Frank Cacchione, head of PA Consulting Groups US Financial Services Practice, New York. “But what weve found is that the barriers to the next level of customer service have to do with the difficulty of collaboration between the broker/agent and insurer,” he says.
Broker-dealers often build a “firewall” between themselves and the carrier, Cacchione contends, so that the carrier does not have access to the customers. “At one level its understandable,” he says. But conflict exists when an agent or broker wants to deal with the customer in a certain way and doesnt want any customer communication coming from the carriers corporate offices. At this point, brokers and carriers seldom carry the dialogue any further, he indicates.