How Young & Haggis Insurance grew a family business in the digital age

A look at the firm’s gift for fusing family values with cutting-edge technology

Since first opening its doors nearly 50 years ago, Young & Haggis’s success has been based upon recognizing, appreciating, and meeting the needs of its customers. The current owners of this Calgary-based family business—Barb Haggis and Robert Young (pictured above, front row), children of the firm’s founder, Jack Young—have further expanded upon this concept by effectively incorporating technology into their proven customer-service mix.

1. Retaining customers

“Growth isn’t possible without a solid foundation of existing clients,” says Barb Haggis, co-owner of Young & Haggis Insurance Services Ltd. For this reason, the firm goes to great lengths to satisfy its current customers. Availability and accessibility are key to its effectiveness, and clients are well aware that if they have questions or concerns, help is just a quick phone call away. Whenever possible, answers or assistance are provided with the initial call. If additional follow-up is required, it is realized as quickly and efficiently as possible.

2. Advocacy as policy

Another way that Young & Haggis keeps its customers satisfied is through agency-wide advocacy. Haggis cites one recent example where the firm intervened on a recent claim. The client had paid for a waiver of depreciation coverage. Through this option, the automobile’s book-value depreciation is waived so the vehicle can be replaced for the full, original cost if damaged or destroyed. “When we checked with the client, she told us she had received a claim check for $25,000 rather than the original $30,000 she had paid for the car,” Haggis says. “We promptly followed up with the insurance provider and obtained the additional $5,000 that was due [to] her.” Such attention to customer issues and emphasis on client satisfaction, whether or not claims are involved, is common to Young & Haggis, and is a significant part of its highly focused customer-retention policy.

3. Building referrals

Frequently, customer retention leads to new clients. “Quite often, our customers—many of whom have been with us for two or even three generations—will recommend us to family, friends, and colleagues,” says Robert Young, co-owner. Whether it be a fast turnaround on a claim or quickly providing advice and policy changes, clients are eager to share their positive experience with Young & Haggis with those close to them. This process, in turn, is a reliable source for building Young & Haggis’s customer base. “Nothing succeeds like successfully meeting the needs of your clients,” Haggis says. “Our reputation for consistently reliable service, passed on through our current customers, continues to be a strong conduit for new customers.”

4. Keeping in tune with clients

Young & Haggis’s embrace of information technology has further strengthened—and maintained—its growing book of clients. This is perhaps most evident with the firm’s website. Immediately upon accessing the site, visitors are warmly greeted by a Flash Player-driven video image of Robert Young. Another major feature of the website is its Education Centre, which provides concise, unbiased information about insurance needs—from coverage for teen motorists to home, auto, or even RV insurance. The website also provides PDF versions of the Young & Haggis newsletter, Insurance Update, which offers timely tips and insights into insurance topics and issues.

5. Harnessing new media

Social media figures prominently in  Young & Haggis’s technology offerings. Traffic continues to build on its Facebook page, while the firm’s smartphone applications are winning rave reviews from clients and even prospective customers. A presence on YouTube, as well as social-media platforms Twitter and LinkedIn, further expands upon Young & Haggis’s commitment to digital communications.

6. The family business advantage

While it may not be readily apparent to customers, Young & Haggis’s operation as a family business remains a strong competitive advantage. “Nearly half of our staff are family, while the other staff are fully invested in our family values as a business,” Haggis says. “We truly take our motto, ‘Our family takes care of yours,’ to heart.”