Just as recently as two years ago (yes, read: pre-pandemic), the leadership team at BakerHopp Insurance Group regularly put ourselves through paces in strategic planning sessions straining to come up with what would make BakerHopp “different” from our peers.
This effort led to creating gimmicks and tricks of the trade that ultimately didn’t bring the value to our
clients that we had dreamt up in our boardroom. I eventually realized it was because we were trying so
hard to be different instead of focusing on what already made us BETTER.
Now the question was: How could we maximize our value?
The truth is we are a company that delivers value with extra-ordinary client service. And it turns out that
extra-ordinary client service is what makes us a respected insurance group. It also lies at the heart of the
value our clients love about us. Case in point: Our retention rates are off the chart and always higher
than the industry average.
There is no question that this revelation occurred because in the world around us, client service has
deteriorated dramatically over the last 24 months. It’s too bad that it took this contrast for our team to
realize how successful our model has been all along. But we got there.
What is extra-ordinary client service?
The thing about extra-ordinary client service is that it’s difficult to describe as the giver and the receiver
of this gift. We all know it when we experience it. Amazing service makes us feel seen and heard, alive
and understood, valued and important. The emotions we are striving for in all we do in life – surely not
just when we are buying insurance, of all things.
But what does extra-ordinary client service look and feel like? This level of service…
- Is doing what we say we will do
- Is authenticity and self-awareness
- Is having a why – in our case, it’s contributing to the success of others
- Is automation that improves our client’s experience
- Is empathy and care of all of the details
- Is transparency
- Is taking risks (aka vulnerability) for the sake of delivering on our core purpose and for the benefit of all
- Is doing whatever it takes to do it well – and often a little bit more
- Is living up to our reputation and good name, showing honor to our company legacy
- Is improving our client’s bottom line
- Is open communication and setting expectations
- Is a sign of self-respect
- Is kind and responsive
- Is flow
BakerHopp certainly hasn’t cornered the market on extra-ordinary client service. We gain inspiration
every day, all day, from the little and big experiences we have with companies, teams and individuals
who also believe. Just in the last 30 days, I’ve experienced many satisfying extra-ordinary moments as a
My first such experience was with Delta Airlines. Delta is my comeback kid. And who doesn’t love an
underdog rebounding better than they were before? Flight cancellations, COVID rebookings and other
modern world airline travel issues have required more of my precious time on the phone with Delta
customer service than I ever thought possible. I can say that 100% of my conversations have been
delightful. I am not joking – every single one. Delta customer service employees are incredibly helpful,
kind, friendly and seemingly HAPPY. As a result, I hang up the phone satisfied, impressed, inspired and
HAPPY. Honest question: How often have you said that after calling a customer service number?!
My other favorite service experience of late was with Lyla’s Catering in Grosse Pointe Woods, MI. Lyla
and her family create and serve the most spectacular Lebanese cuisine. Do you ever have a slow or
rough or annoying day at work? I experienced such a morning recently and decided to go to Lyla’s to
grab lunch. When I walked in the door, I was greeted like they had been waiting all day for ME to arrive.
My entire mood changed in an instant and I brought this elevated energy into the rest of my day.
From small local businesses to multinational corporations, the feeling of extra-ordinary service is
universal. If we keep our heart open, we can see amazing service experiences are everywhere.
Extra-ordinary service is self-serving (and that’s a good thing)
Delivering extra-ordinary client service is who we are at BakerHopp. Knowing our purpose is just that –
to contribute to someone else’s success – we’re able to step outside of ourselves into a serving
While it may be obvious how and why our clients benefit from the extra-ordinary service we deliver day
in and day out, it’s worth articulating here.
Taking the think out of complicated insurance decisions and removing the excess “noise” from our
clients’ lives frees them up to focus on the activities that will actually bring revenue into their business.
Extra-ordinary service involves taking care of every last detail for our clients, which enables them to
simply move on and proceed with their work. Not to mention, the cost to the client of BakerHopp not
delivering this level of service can be significant; chronic dissatisfaction and a lack of trust in their
insurance agency can lead a client to change firms. The lost productivity in the process of moving to
another agency is akin to lost costs from employee turnover – it’s very expensive.
Great service leads to long-term, productive, satisfying and mutually beneficial relationships, where the
agency and client company grow together. And it’s good for BakerHopp’s bottom line – According to a
study by SmallBizGenius, 56% of customers will stay loyal to a business that “gets them” and Fundera
found that when a company decreases their client churn rate by just 5%, profits can increase up to
What does this do for our team? It creates an environment of flow and a team of people who love to
serve and serve smartly, leaving us feeling “in the zone” and having a great day. When we have a
positive day, so does everyone we come into contact with, including (and especially!) our clients.
The Bottom Line
Now that we have opened up to who we really are (and who we’ve always been) and have clarified what
extra-ordinary client service means to us, I love that there are a million and one ways to demonstrate
extra-ordinary service. Extra-ordinary client service benefits our clients, our team and our community,
and pursuing it is never boring and never done. This level of service is big and small, plain and fancy, and
easy and hard to give all at the same time. It’s challenging and fun because it’s the constant pursuit of
Now, instead of looking around for what makes us different, we focus on what we do best – giving extra–