By Eric Gordon
The Denver Agency has been conducting business since 1932.
I personally haven’t been in the office quite that long, but after two-plus decades of diagnosing high net worth individuals’ insurance needs – and the hundreds of conferences, meetings, and interactions with underwriters that has entailed – a question began gnawing on me. An important question. A question that needed – demanded, really – a concrete answer.
Who are we?
Seriously. As an HNW insurance agency, what traits, I wondered, make us different than any other agency offering similar insurance options from quite probably the same underwriters? What does or could make us the best (as I assume we all aspire to be) at what we do? What is the ethos that sets us both apart and upon our path? To answer this question, I knew I would have to look outside my own industry for inspiration. I needed to find those companies – or company – that exemplified the best of the best in terms of customer and brand experience. Fortunately, my search proved fruitful almost immediately when I enjoyed that exact type of customer experience first-hand at a Four Seasons hotel.
From the warm welcome to the thoughtful touches sprinkled throughout my stay to the handwritten card I received after my visit, everything about the Four Seasons experience exuded a customer-first mentality. But what struck me most of all was the unforgettable spirit of the Four Seasons team. They seemed genuinely happy to have me there. Genuinely concerned about my day. Genuinely interested in my needs. And if they weren’t being genuine, they did a heck of a job faking it.
On my visit, I was fortunate enough to speak to the General Manager at the hotel. He echoed the philosophy of Isadore Sharp, the founder of Four Seasons Hotels, stating that they intently focus on SERVICE. As in, Smile (make it genuine), Eye contact (even in passing), Recognition (use guests’ names when appropriate), Voice (a friendly, respectful tone), Inform (about hotel services and other guest requests), Care (in all we do), Exceed (guests’ expectations).
Such simple, clear statements. And when infused throughout the company culture, they help make amazing things happen for both their guests and their brand. Couldn’t – shouldn’t – the same apply to High Net Worth Insurance?
Of course, creating a similar culture of service dedication requires a lot of face time, regular employee interaction and a strong philosophical core to which all – including and especially myself – are held accountable. With so much digital automation at our disposal today, this kind of time investment is unheard of – and in fact, is considered inefficient by most insurance organizations. After all, how can I, at the Denver Agency, attach ROI to this level of service? What metrics could possibly measure the impact of remembering a client’s daughter’s birthday or fulfilling a client’s urgent need at 2 a.m.? I’ll give you the three (but only one of which can go in the ledger) that matter to me: The trust of my clients, my team’s satisfaction in making people happy and the bottom line.
It is not my goal for the Denver Agency to be called “the Four Seasons of insurance agencies” (although I would gladly accept the compliment). It is my goal, like that fine collection of hotels, to set an almost impossibly high standard of expertise and service in an industry that should be doing much more for the clients they serve. As an independent agency, we are ideally suited to do just that. To transform generic account management into real relationship building. To make ticking off checkboxes the first step – instead of the only step – in digging into clients’ needs. To be efficient, certainly, but never at the cost of empathy.
This is the goal for the Denver Agency. This is the answer to my questions, the end of my search. This is who we have become and who we strive be a better version of every day: A transformative insurance agency that not only specializes in high net worth risk management, but in the entire high net worth lifestyle – delivering service that goes beyond the policy, beyond the perfunctory to the personal. Every client. Every time. That is the essence, the core, the heart of what makes us who we are – the Denver Agency.
What brands or companies have inspired you along the way? How have they impacted and shaped your organization or culture? Or, have they? We’d love to continue the dialog with you.