There are two kinds of commercial insurance agents: those who act like doctors and those who act like dentists.
Doctors hope to see their patients as few times as possible. Generally speaking, a physician works reactively. Their job is to identify and treat problems as they arise.
Say you have a sore throat. You don’t know the cause or what treatment you need, so you schedule an appointment. The doctor runs a few tests, diagnoses you with strep, prescribes you an antibiotic, and sends you on your way. There may or may not be a follow-up. Assuming you feel better, are otherwise a healthy person, and don’t require any kind of ongoing medical care, it could be a year or two until you see your primary care provider again. In any case, the decision to schedule your next visit is yours to make.
Dentists, on the other hand, aim to see their patients on a regular and frequent basis. They work proactively, attending to emerging problems before they become bigger concerns.
When you visit a dentist, you know exactly why you’re going. Say you’re getting your teeth cleaned – the dentist performs the cleaning and informs you of any cavities or other dental issues. When you leave, you schedule a follow-up appointment for a filling, the next cleaning, or another clearly defined reason. Regardless, you have an upcoming visit on the calendar—and it’s just six months away, if not sooner.
These two scenarios present divergent ideas of healthcare. For most medical issues, people gauge their well-being on avoiding the doctor—the fewer office visits, the better. For teeth and gums, it’s the opposite: a person’s measure of dental health is how often they see their dentist.
Imagine how you could change your business by thinking like a dentist. You could help clients proactively recognize and manage areas of risk while earning accolades for saving them money. Say you have 100 clients and 10 are currently at risk. If you do nothing for your at-risk clients except show-up annually and focus solely on pricing, you’ll likely lose them first time that a more entrepreneurial insurance agent offers them more. As a result, your retention rate would drop to 90%. But if you can have a dentist mentality with those 10 clients and guide them through controlling and preventing their losses, you could maintain 100% retention and win significant goodwill, which will sustain you even if a competing agent tries to compete on price alone.
Dentists use tools – right? Well, if you are going to think like a dentist, you need tools as well. Midwestern’s Risk Management Center provides the tools you need. Our suite of safety and human resource applications provides tools to help your clients deliver and track training, identify and incident trends, satisfy federal and state-specific requirements, address the ever-changing regulations, and much more.
Remember, this is not just about making yourself and your agency of greater value to your current clients. These same tools can be used to take your conversations with existing and potential clients to the next level. And it is with the latter that the doctor-versus-dentist metaphor is particularly resonant. Many physicians can rely on insurance networks to drive patients to their practices. Dentists depend on word of mouth—figuratively and literally speaking. Ultimately, by thinking like a dentist, you will not only maximize client satisfaction, but you will also set yourself and your agency apart and win new clients as a result.