Breaking down processes and evaluating technology systems is vital to an agency's success.
Most insurance agencies must compete against million-dollar marketing machines with million-dollar brands that are utilizing cutting-edge technology platforms. As technology continues to change at lightning speed, small business owners may find it overwhelming to analyze and compare the many technology options that could help them compete.
Our contemporary need for instant gratification forces every customer service-related industry to ramp up efficiency to work through tasks as quickly as possible and create a noteworthy customer experience. That means breaking down processes and evaluating technology systems is imperative in catapulting an agency to success.
Here are six tech areas to consider when looking internally at your agency’s operations:
1) Management system. There are dozens of agency management systems to choose from, and they all vary in price and services. When selecting a management system, look for a few key components:
- Reporting on retention, new business, open tasks, sales initiatives
- Task assignment for documenting, tracking and measuring follow-up and task completion
- Data input for adding notes to files, such as “drop and drag” and attaching emails, phone conversations and text messages
- Client profile customization for building a client profile to nurture rapport and long-term relationships with clients
- Commitment to moving forward with advancements in technology
2) Phone system. Phones aren’t just a way to communicate anymore. Technology enables agencies to record phone conversations to use for training, coaching and mentoring. A phone system that can record and include multiple personnel can help coach your team to the next level—just be sure to check your state laws on recording calls and notifying the other party.
Many phone systems even include an internal chat system that helps set a professional tone in the office. Chatting internally allows for instant results and immediate execution on a plan because it forgoes any post-call follow-up with a team leader.
3) Sales cycle. Programs such as Calendly can create custom links for scheduling appointments easily—eliminating time-consuming back and forth increasing the likelihood that the meeting will actually happen because it gives the prospect the opportunity to set the time.
Moving through the sales cycle, leveraging technology can lay a solid groundwork for strong communication. Texting platforms such as zipwhip allow you to text through your agency’s landline, while programs like loom enable you to present a proposal by sharing your screen with a prospect.
Once the policy is sold, seal the deal easily and effectively with e-signature programs such as DocuSign and RightSignature, which allow the client to digitally and instantly sign the contract from their phone, email or computer.
4) Automation. The key is to work smarter, not harder. Agencies can collect data from technology, such as website traffic, to better understand our clients and how to maximize marketing dollars. Agencies can also use automation to send drip marketing campaigns, payment reminders and surveys for clients to rate their customer experience.
5) Social media targeting. Creating a positive customer experience includes predicting what the customer needs before they even know it. Targeted marketing can precisely pinpoint clients for specific products based on the interests they reveal through their social media accounts. These communications need to be educational and include a call to action to move the prospect forward in the process.
6) Mobile office. The most underutilized technology is the smartphone, which gives you 24/7 access to clients. From scheduling and emails to agency management apps and carrier apps, the cell phone is a portable office for all insurance agents.
In addition, some cellular carriers allow you to install a separate app to that creates a work line that is separate from your personal number—perfect for those who don’t want to carry two phones around.
Technology is changing at a rapid pace, and faster than most can embrace all at once. Your challenge: Tackle at least one new tech concept or program each month to boost efficiencies, client retention and organic growth—this year and beyond.
Gina Clevenger is owner and employee benefits consultant at Clevenger Insurance Agency, headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana. Clevenger was the cover star of September 2019 IA.