“You caring for your customer is ordinary; Your customer caring for you is eXtraOrdinary.”- Naveen Lakkur
India’s No.1 ‘Chief Life Insurance Advisor
Acquiring customers is one of the most important tasks for any business, in fact it would be the top one in the list. If you want to sustain in business, One need to really care for the customer.
Customer may be drawn to you, based on the product or the service you provide and mainly the need you fulfil.
Just imagine how difficult it would be to acquire a customer if the product is ‘Life Insurance’.
Life insurance is a very touchy subject, how do you explain the need of it in a convincing way without intimidating. It’s not an easy task.
Koutike Vittal an LIC agent in Hyderabad presented it pleasingly, he explained to a prospective customer with an analogy. He said, “Imagine you have been gifted a lovely pair of shoes and one day you are visiting a temple in the city. You go there, leave your footwear outside and then enter the temple premises. You have a choice either to leave the footwear in a guarded place and pay a small price for it and then Peacefully pray inside. Or Leave it in an open area and keep thinking about the footwear more than the God, while inside the temple and much worse is praying God to take care of your footwear from any eventuality”. He continued, “Your life is a lovely gift to this World and ‘Insurance’ is the small price you pay as ‘Premium’ to earn peace of mind because it safeguards the lifestyle of your loved ones or your own self in case of any eventuality”.
From riding around on a bicycle in the streets of Nizamabad to shifting into a 4,500 sq. ft apartment in Banjara Hills, an area of the elites in Hyderabad and driving around top class Mercedes Benz, LIC agent Koutike Vittal has come a long way.
“I was born to a poor family and I would go around Nizamabad selling insurances. After I was successful there, I decided to move to Hyderabad. And it has taken so many years of hard work to be where I am today. While building this home, my aim was to show how a small man, just a LIC agent, could buy a house in one of the most posh areas of the city,” says Koutike Vittal.
Social inadequacies like Small town mentality / rural background / unable to speak the language of business / minimal knowledge of business / no social skills, need not stop one from having a big vision. And working towards realising it with a goal and a plan is what Koutike Vittal has demonstrated.
Here are 3 Little Extra’s to acquire a customer:
1. Genuinely caring for the customer.
2. Thorough Homework on the prospect.
3. Individualised and Customised presentations.
Over 33 years of helping people in getting right Life Insurance, he has got 3300 happy customers so far which includes celebrities & business tycoons.
He is ranked as India’s No.1 ‘Chief Life Insurance Advisor’ by Life Insurance Corporation of India in the Non Single premium category. He believes while he has worked hard to get these customers, they have actually become ‘life time customers’ And his customers have worked harder than him to get him to the top spot.
Story of Epi Ludvik
Epi Ludvik is the Founder & CEO of Crowdsourcing Week and Bold Awards. He grew up in New York, now based out of Singapore and with business activities in 3 continents…his philosophy is simple ‘if Customer is King, Get him involved in solving problems’. He created a platform called ‘Crowdsourcing Week’ where he has taken an inclusive approach to generate ideas by getting customers and other stakeholders beyond the employees of an organization to learn new concepts, network with new people and participate in solving new problems through events and conferences conducted in many parts of the world. He inspires and evangelises ‘Open Innovation’.
When asked, how did you get here? Epi replied, “One needs to be bold sometimes and take some bold decisions if you want to make a difference”.
Here is a memorable story that made such an impact on where Epi is today.
Looking back, while attending the University evening classes in the early 2000’s at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Epi was working full time at Brooks Brothers Fifth Ave, NYC store as a sales associate.
Years ago, a much younger Epi, saw one dissatisfied customer walking in the store heading straight to the counter without acknowledging his greeting. At first, he thought the customer knew exactly where he was going but after stopping at the counter Epi approached him asking if he could be of any help.
Much to his surprise customer reply was – “no one can help me other than a manager and I’d like to speak to him NOW!”
Long story short – Epi convinced him, after acknowledging his frustration, that if he can tell Epi his concern he may be able to help.
The customer was looking for a Brooks Brother catalogue and none of the stores he went to in the city had one available so this was their third store customer visited.
Unfortunately, they did not have it as well but understanding the situation Epi just knew he had to be a Little Extra to help his customer out.
Epi made sure to take his info and assured him that he personally will take care of it and he will get the catalogue as soon as possible.
Epi took customer service to another level and delivered the catalogue to his door.
After few days Epi received a post with a letter addressed to him from this customer stating:
I can’t thank you enough for delivering the Brooks Brothers catalogue to my apartment this week. Please forgive me for being so sidetracked when you rang my buzzer. I was on a deadline with The Public Theatre’s press office for performances which begin next Monday.
Let me phone you next week and maybe we could meet for lunch or coffee, or we could do something after work.
I’m enclosing The Public Theatre’s press release, in case you might like to see B.J. Ward in “Stand-UP Opera” during November.”
And it’s been over 2 decades now, the ‘customer’ became his ‘Loyal Customer’ ever since.
This goes to show the power of ‘a Little Extra’ in empathy and service.