Here are some quick and easy tips to take advantage of your customer relationship manager or agency management system to organize your agency.
We're all looking for ways to make our work lives easier and feel more in control of our work. Over the past two years, we've been thrown into a new world that's changed the way almost every business operates. And with that has come challenges, like burnout, disorganization and more.
"From longer work hours to increased demands at home, the COVID-19 pandemic introduced new stressors to nearly every domain of life," according to the American Psychological Association. “Because these pandemic-related stressors likely won't stop anytime soon, stress-reducing measures should be top of mind for employers and legislators alike."
It would be too simple to say that simply organizing your workload would take away stress, but it can be a huge help. Simply decluttering and streamlining your workspace and the technology you use can save you time and frustration when it comes to finding information, communicating with coworkers and more.
However, for these efforts to be truly effective, you need to organize your work life in a way that will encourage a continued commitment to organization. What you don't want is to go through the organization process, only to return to the previous disorganized state in a matter of weeks or months.
So, how can you create an environment that encourages organization and productivity? Here are some quick and easy tips to take advantage of your customer relationship manager (CRM) or agency management system (AMS) to organize your agency:
1) Utilize automated workflow tools. These tools are made to make your life easier, but they can feel a bit overwhelming when you're trying to identify ways to use them.
Some starting places to automate workflow are policy renewal tasks and reminder emails, lead follow-up, and client welcome messages and onboarding. When you've identified the processes you want to make more efficient, it is helpful to write out the organizational flow of these processes on a whiteboard. Then, the places where you can sub in automated tasks or communication become clearer.
2) Create an environment for reliable data. Create standards for how to enter data into your CRM or AMS and communicate those standards with your team. Abbreviations, misspellings and other inconsistencies that come from manual entry of data can throw off your data and make it less reliable.
Take it a step further and utilize drop-down menus or other ways of entering data that aren't open fields wherever you can within your system to encourage uniform data. An example of this would be creating items for lead sources that your agents and staff must choose from when entering or editing a new lead.
After all, one agent might type “Referral" for a lead source and another might use “client referral". Since those two things are the same, you want them to be listed as such to make your data as consistent and reliable as possible.
3) Connect records at all points possible. Avoid data silos by connecting the client to their policy, connecting their policy to the agent and connecting the agent to the commissions. This is one of the main benefits of selecting an insurance-specific AMS that has these record types and helps you connect them. With all this data connected, anyone on your team could look at any of these records and see the full picture.
4) Save information you regularly refer to on your dashboard. To reduce time spent searching for information, identify the information you need each day or week to do your job effectively, and make that data easily accessible for yourself each day.
For example, producers might want to keep tabs on two things every day: a list of leads that need follow-ups and a list of policies recently sold so they can follow the progress. These two tasks can be run as searches in the AMS and then saved or pinned to an individual user's dashboard to refer to each day.
Being proactive about the information you need saves you from running reports at the last minute, which is a productivity drain.
5) Make AMS or CRM continuing education a regular event. The software your team uses is always evolving; make it a priority to regularly attend webinars and find other ways to continually learn about the system.
Even if you've used your software for years, you may still find small tips and tricks that help you stay more organized and work smarter, not harder. Also, make it a habit to share the tips or tricks you've learned with your team.
While these tips won't magically save you or your team from all frustration or burnout, they are practical ways to improve organization, so you can feel more effective and in control of your work.
Kelsey Rosauer is brand manager at AgencyBloc. Rosauer is a certified brand strategist and has been with AgencyBloc since 2014.
For more on automating workflow and using tech to organize your agency, check out this free AgencyBloc ebook or the free AgencyBloc guide on using an AMS more effectively.