Insurtech stories: Lift Local

by | Feb 26, 2019

Based in Lehi, Utah, in the heart of Silicon Slopes, Lift Local helps businesses improve their online visibility and maximize the value of former, current and prospective customers. As an Elevate gold sponsor, we caught up with cofounder and CEO Luke Hendricks to get the  scoop on how and why they love working with independent agents. Here’s their story.

AN: Every brand has an inspiration for their business. What was your tinder?
Luke: Several years ago, my co-founder Dylan Bakker and I worked for a marketing agency that provided a customer engagement software to home service professionals. I was tasked with building out the sales vision and process. After a few months, it became apparent that home service professionals did not have the time to learn or use our software. We could easily sell them on the value and end result, but when it came down to implementation, it was a nonstarter. They would sign up for our service, pay for a couple of months and then realize they had essentially paid for nothing because they couldn’t find the time to learn and manage our tool. It was then that I learned that small business owners need contractors rather than just tools and software programs. Within a year or two, we launched Lift Local.

AN: How did you go from uncovering a need in the market to launching?
Luke: A big part of our prep was determining which elements of marketing would yield the quickest return for our clients and which industries to service. While researching, we noticed that since 2010 the value of online reviews had skyrocketed. In today’s world, 88% of consumers won’t consider a service provider without reading their customer reviews, and 9 out of 10 consumers will call the business with the best reviews. We knew then that review generation would be our core product. It was a no brainer. Our goal was to find a simple way for our clients to get customer feedback and reviews without having to learn complicated technology or invest any of their precious time.

AN: How did you come to specialize in the indie insurance channel?
As we looked into the insurance industry, we found that agents typically wore several hats in their agency and had almost no free time to spend on marketing. We also learned that the average insurance agent only had 1 or 2 online reviews. That’s when we knew this was the industry we could really help.

AN: What did you do to support  your customer experience?
Luke: Initially, our biggest priority was making sure the service was completely hands-off for our agents while still keeping them in the loop. We knew that rather than a pretty dashboard and complicated login process, our agents wanted results. We built internal processes that allowed us to onboard an agent during a five-minute phone call. After the onboarding process, we would build custom content, organize client data and launch test email campaigns to request customer feedback and reviews on behalf of the agent.

AN: How has Lift Local evolved?
Three years and thousands of email and text campaigns later, we have learned a lot about how customers respond to agent outreach. For example, the more complicated the review request is, the less responsive the clients become. We now keep all of our content simple and short. Each email or text we send is completely custom, so it’s just like the agent is sending a personalized email to that client. When the customers report they’re happy, we get them to leave a public review on Google or another popular review site. When the customers say they aren’t happy, we get them to send direct feedback to the agency. Through experience, we learned timing plays a huge role in generating high response rates. Different days of the week and times of the day yield higher engagement. Each agency we service is different and managing each campaign allows us to take a customized approach based on the needs and responsiveness of the customers.

AN: What kind of results do you drive for agents?
Luke: As we focused on Google reviews, our agents began to see a 40% increase in online traffic and inbound calls. While this was significant, we gained some important insight when we, as a company, started reaching out to customers for additional feedback. One of our top priorities has always been to frequently keep in touch with our clients, but as we grew, it became harder to keep tabs on all of our customers. We try to keep in monthly contact with each of our customers, but the reality is that sometimes it’s hard to connect. To make sure we were reaching all of our customers, we started sending out feedback requests. The happy customers received a call right away where we asked for referrals or cross sold them on our other services. Our not so happy customers were also called, and we would work through any problems and resolve concerns. Through this simple process of contacting our customers via email, we increased retention, got more referrals and sold more products. It was so successful for us that we decided to offer this service to our agents.

AN: Anything exciting in your pipeline?
Luke: As our customer feedback and online review generation both proved highly successful for our agents, they started asking what else we could do for them. They mentioned that a huge problem they faced was retention and we got to work building a product that could win back their former customers. After talking to hundreds of agents, we realized that most of them lacked the processes needed to consistently re-engage past clients. If they were making an attempt, it was usually through semi-annual phone calls which didn’t prove very effective. We knew if we could set up frequent touch points with the agent’s former customers, we could get some of them back in the door. We didn’t build anything fancy, just a simple email drip system that would send different content at different times to customers based on their previous engagement. The content we created was simple, personalized and custom for each agent. Our WinBacks product blew up and 30% of our agents adopted the solution within a month of its inception.

AN: So what’s on the horizon?
Luke: Today we offer a full product suite of marketing services to help agents in every aspect of their agency. We’re continuing to provide a streamlined, hands-off solution that saves our customers hours of learning and implementation time. This allows them to focus on their core competencies while we focus on ours. We are giddy about the work we’re doing and the results we’re seeing. Our passion is helping agents dominate in their local markets and we’d love to talk to agents and hear how we can help. Feel free to drop me a line or stop by and say hi at Elevate—we’ll be there, and we’re always interested in talking with agents and helping them succeed!

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