How to Increase Customer Retention: Engage vs. Inspect

Self-service inspections can increase customer retention. If you have any doubt that customers will be transparent check out this video of actual results!

Old School Loss Control…Same Old Results- The cliche is that you “get what you inspect, not what you expect”.  This is particularly pertinent to underwriting P&C insurance. 

Of growing value to the “expect” side of the equation is utilizing data analytics and trying to crack the code on what informational element will be predictive of loss or quality of the risk.

However, when a loss does occur, and the reality of the risk does not jibe with what was the expected scenario, we are often left with the question, what could we do differently?

In a perfect world, perhaps inspecting every commercial and residential risk would reduce losses.  Typically, though, new business gets an inspection and there may not be another look-see for 5+ years.  What is the value of a one-off inspection?

Traditional inspections are too expensive and take too long to be a viable option for anything “real time” regarding information collection.  What if we took a different approach?  Self-service inspections.  Engage your policyholder!

Paradigm Shift: The New Normal Inspection

Self-service inspections, where the policyholder is doing the property tour, will reduce costs by 75% and will average 3 days turn around time.  If you get 60-70% completion rate with your invitations, you can double the number of inspections without spending any more than was done on traditional inspections.

What about taking it beyond just self-service inspections?  What about if we discard the notion of inspections as a whole?  What if we took the approach of an ongoing engagement with our policyholders?

Engage With Me

Engage vs. Inspect.  Loss control could be an ongoing engagement, every 3-6 months, where a particular theme or focus, like the commercial cook line, or home solid fuel burner.  With a thematic approach, you would request just 4-6 photos and 2-3 questions be responded to with an app or a bot.

Inspections become engagements and morph from “looking” for a problem to co-working to improve the risk profile.   The irony here is that typical self-service approaches often focus on reducing interactions with the customer.  Self-service inspections however, are created to up the level of engagement.  This results in better retention. 

How self-service inspections are gaining in popularity

This FastCompany article, “Why The Future Of Customer Service Is Self-Service”, particularly speaks to expectations our clients have around self-service.

Self-service inspections can make your policyholders and their staff more self aware. 


Awareness can be the point of entry for making a proactive decision like ordering a hood cleaning service or moving the stored boxes away from the furnace.

Increasing Touchpoints for Increased Retention

Of course, not every policyholder will be enthralled with the idea of engaging with their 

carrier or agent on a quarterly basis.  But how many would?  Is avoiding contact with the insured a viable approach in today’s connected world?  The more relevant “touches” we have with our clients, the better relationship and the better retention.  I know that is how I want to be treated!

So, what are the 5 things you really need to know about a particular line of business?  How can you boil them down to some images and questions?

Let’s take the example of a commercial kitchen.  These might be the top line items you would like to know about:

  • What is the cooking equipment?
  • Is there a hood and duct?
  • Is the duct work clean?
  • Is there an extinguishing system?
  • Is there a current inspection tag on the extinguisher?
  • Is there a fryer?
  • What are the floors like?
  • Etc.

Policyholders Can Be Surprisingly Transparent

If you wonder whether the policyholder will be transparent with sharing information about their property, even if it could be considered a negative, watch this video of actual self-service inspection results and look for the defects!

To retain customers, most would agree that you must engage with them.  Why not take a legacy process (inspections) and shift it to a channel of engagement?

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