In today’s uncertain circumstances, it’s critical for agents to evolve business operations and adopt technology to continue to serve customers. Navigating change requires an explicit focus on three core principles.
In today's uncertain circumstances, it's critical for agents to evolve business operations and adopt technology to continue to serve customers. In particular, leveraging technology to facilitate the insurance application and renewal process is more important than ever.
In efforts to meet new customer demands and adapt to a digital, remote operation, agencies must choose the right technology to streamline this process and continue to deliver a superior customer experience. While you can change technologies very quickly in the right circumstances, altering the way employees think about their roles, the business and your culture doesn't happen overnight. The time required to transform hearts and minds must be built into your change management plan.
Change management is the discipline of leading individuals, teams and entire organizations through organizational change via a combination of behavioral and social sciences, information technology and business solutions. By understanding the basic phases of change and valuing your staff, you avoid common pitfalls of failed change efforts.
To successfully navigate change, it requires an explicit focus on three core principles:
1) People. The people who make up your organization are one of the most crucial elements for change management success. People must acknowledge and buy into the need to change at the most basic level. They must understand how the agency's operation is impacting every customer's experience and buy in to the need to improve it.
Once bought in, employee engagement at every stage needs to be closely monitored to address any resistance and create a shared sense of urgency for change. Continual, transparent communications will foster listening and provide a sounding board for issues and concerns. To help create a more receptive environment, include employees in the planning process. Then, clearly define goals, roles and processes.
2) Processes. Detail how the work gets done, provide a plan for introducing and systemize your technology strategy. The plan in place for an agency's application and renewal process can be deeply rooted in a team's workflow. Manage risks related to course-change by putting robust implementation, onboarding and education strategies in place, where processes are documented to establish a foundation for ongoing growth. Finally, processes should be continuously updated based on best practices and lessons learned.
3) Technology. Technology investments influence all aspects of your business: from managing internal staff to providing an exceptional experience for your customers. It must integrate with your existing operation and streamline inefficiencies via automation. Collecting client information and policy data is a critical part of the insurance process. Agencies will not succeed if this information is fragmented, unorganized and spread across multiple sources. Technology must standardize information, make it readily available and allow it to be leveraged. When selecting the technology for an agency's core function, it must be flexible and scalable enough to support current and future growth.
Mike Furlong is CEO of Indio Technologies, a software provider for insurance agencies wanting to turn their application and renewal process into a fully digital, modern experience.