Aon: Does the Customer Know Best?

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By John Byers, Vice President, Aon Risk Solutions

Insurance is not the new black. It’s not trendy, sexy or attractive. Insurance is viewed by some as a commodity. So, why does it matter if you buy it from one person or another – even one company or another? How do you differentiate a product that no one necessarily likes to talk about but certainly doesn’t want to be without when they need it? For Aon, it starts with understanding the difference between agents and consultants as we recognize that our clients come to us for the added value, not just the insurance programs, we deliver.

We know the old saying about the customer, and we know they always want to be right. But, we have all experienced walking away unsure of a product or service, asking ourselves that nagging question, “Did I make the right decision?” With more competition and more complex information than ever before, is it more important to be right or to be sure? Today, customers want to be sure that they made the right decision. In our world, the world of risk management and consulting, that’s what matters most to the people we serve.


Each one of our relationships begins by talking about our client’s tolerance for risk. One Aon client recently pulled me aside and said, “Aon is a company that doesn’t talk like other companies. They spoke to me about risk first and educated me about the gaps that I had.  They provided scenarios that made me think differently about my business and then gave me options to help protect myself and my company, outlining the cost and benefit to the business every step of the way.”

Aon clients have a single point of contact to facilitate, coordinate and deploy all resources promptly and efficiently. We provide direct access to our myriad on staff resources designed to fit the needs of the client’s risk tolerance. While everyone else may have “a guy they know,” Aon has resources on staff with a global network of skilled professionals at their fingertips, nonetheless. Our model is so uniquely different than what our customers are familiar with. After a discussion, our clients leave the conversation educated and therefore confident that they made an informed decision to empower results for their company’s bottom line.


Any conversation around customer service can be summed up with a simple idea – empathy. Our approach to clients is grounded in empathy.  Without question, part of managing risk includes managing conflict.  Managing conflicts involves being empathetic to the challenges an organization might face.

This perspective begins with the internal Aon culture. Aon welcomes and offers support and kindness to its colleagues for the betterment of its clients. Show me a company that functions with an internal culture of kindness, generosity, respect and empathy, and I’ll show you one of their customers who shares the same values.


What keeps Aon’s clients coming back again and again is the fact that we have built trust. Some trust may come from a distinct brand, positive Wall Street reports or a referral from a friend, but I know I have created trust when I hear a client say, “My former agent never did this for me.” Trust is manufactured and maintained within the customer’s personal experience built by complete transparency, education, understanding, helping the customer realize the questions they need to ask and delivering quickly. Aon’s motto is to be in the weeds, go beyond the front lines and be willing to get your hands dirty. It’s in these moments that we get to create the ultimate trust with our customers.

Insurance broking is experiencing a revolution, and it’s called risk consulting.  Risk Consulting is delivering sound solutions within an extremely complex and ever-changing environment. This is done in such a way that clients can choose to understand as much or as little as they desire, have a deep appreciation for as little or as much risk as they want as well as develop a complete and unique trust that they are being coached to making an informed decision. At Aon, our clients worry about many things when growing a business, but risk and insurance isn’t one of them.