As a new year begins, so do the resolutions. One popular goal is to stay connected – keeping in touch with the family and friends that flooded lives during the holiday season. However, like most resolutions, maintaining communications with others is easier said than done.
Using Communication Tools
Today’s tech can make it easier to stay in touch than ever. This is especially true for you and your agency. Staying in touch with your various agency partners can become second nature with a few simple communication tools that work with your management system. Consider adding these to your agency management system best practices:
Commercial and personal lines downloads
Each of these tools can sync with your system, connecting you with customers, prospects, and carriers for more effective and efficient communication.
Texting, mobile apps, and email integration are integral pieces for serving and growing your customer base. With mobile apps, customers can send and receive photos of damaged items, access mobile ID cards, and make policy updates among other conveniences. The ability to send and receive such information quickly gives your customers peace of mind and shows their time is valued.
Email integration allows you to effortlessly capture communications with both customers and prospects in your management system. You can attach and download documents within your management system and keep email threads right in an individual’s profile. Saving this relevant information in one location makes it easier to follow-up, building and maintaining a good relationship with both clients and prospects alike.
Texting benefits current customers and is highly effective in gaining new business. Texts are answered quickly and can provide prospects on the edge with the vital information they need to make a decision. In our fast-paced society, those quick responses to policy questions make the difference between closing and losing a deal.
Staying in touch with your carriers is important for maintaining up-to-date policy information. Your CSRs especially need to stay connected to address and update information, resulting in dozens of phone calls a week.
Commercial and person lines downloads can eliminate the need for phone calls, yet maintain quality communication about policy updates and changes. Downloads sync automatically, transmitting information right into your management system. And your agency can send info right back, keeping carriers informed of cancellations, reinstatements, claims, and other relevant information.
Each of these communications tools can be a game-changer for your agency…if you know how to use them. Part of improving your operations is learning how to use your agency management systems to its maximum efficiency.
This is where your management system provider comes in. At SIS, we know our client communication plays a critical role in their ability to use our Partner XE system to its fullest. We are committed to being there for our clients through in-person trainings, quick email responses, online support, and direct connection with a real person to address customer needs.
It’s that time of year again—holiday shopping, buying, and trying to find the best gift to show you care. It’s a tall order, but we may have the answer. For your agency staff, that is: adding integrated systems to your insurance agency management system.
Integrated systems are for everyone in your agency! From producers to CSRs, you can give the gift of accuracy and efficiency. Plus, there’s even a little something in it for you.
Make your producers’ days merry and bright
Producers benefit from integrated systems as they give them the competitive edge with prospects. Email integration creates an automatic record of correspondence so producers can easily see prospect contact history. They can also send emails right from your management system, attaching documents from your system’s interface.
Integration with insurance downloads is the gift that keeps on giving to your CSRs. With downloads, CSRs can link up to carriers and automatically receive the policy information they need daily. Gone are the days of manual entry, which speeds up processes. And faster processing means better customer service, which makes everyone smile.
Besides making your staff and customers happier, you benefit from integrated systems like accounting. Integrated accounting syncs daily with every entry made in your management system, meaning no matter when you pull information it’s up to date. This gives you a clear picture of where your agency is so you can plan where it’s going. Plus, it improves your accounting precision and cuts down on E&O issues, saving you headaches.
We know integrated systems here at SIS. Our clients benefit from integrated accounting, Outlook email integration, and carrier downloads among other time-savings tools. And we don’t want your acquaintance to be forgot—our clients stay with us because we listen to and meet their needs day in and day out.
If you’ve been reading our blog, you’re aware of the time-saving potential of insurance downloads through your carriers. You’ve read up on how to get started, set up downloads, and sat back to watch the efficiency flow. It’s very “set it and forget it” – right? (more…)
As the holiday shopping season approaches, we’re bombarded with ads for new gadgets that will “change your life.” These devices might deliver on that promise – but often they don’t. A new phone, updated tablet, or surround sound speaker system can end up feeling, well, underwhelming. Why? Because we often don’t realize their full potential.
The same rings true for your agency management system and its potential for insurance solutions.
Are You Leaving Money on the Table?
If you’re like most agencies, you’re using your management system daily…but only to manage data. There is so much more your system can accomplish! Tap into your management system’s potential by utilizing its time-saving, workflow-optimizing features.
Use tailor-made workflows
Great management systems provide the ability to customize workflows, naming conventions, and reporting to reflect how your agency works. Take advantage of these opportunities to make your agency management system more in sync with your processes.
Create shortcuts, allowing users to jump right to the screen they need. Design workflows that match individual users’ daily processes. Make reports that give you the information your team needs, in the way they need it. These seemingly small changes can seriously overhaul your agency’s workflow.
If you haven’t yet, your agency needs to go paperless. The time and money saving benefits alone are huge.[bctt tweet=”If you haven’t yet, your agency needs to go paperless. The time and money saving benefits alone are huge.” via=”no”] Plus, documents and data stored virtually is protected from loss, damage, and theft in the security of the cloud.
Your management system is set up to run a paperless operation. Use email syncing to send and receive policy documents and attach them to customer profiles. Skip printing directions and documents when on the road with mobile access via your provider’s app. Take advantage of easy scanning and document management, transferring all your agency documents to one centralized location.
Sync with download
RealTime, personal and commercial lines, and bill commissions download were designed to speed up your agency’s operations – use them! RealTime alone can save hundreds of hours over the year, eliminating keystrokes and automatically updating customer information daily.
Personal and commercial lines downloads hold the same benefits. Your customer service team can skip hours on the phone with carriers and simply download their recent pricing and coverage updates. For producers, bill commissions downloads process “who gets what” in a matter of minutes. And each process reduces human error, upping your E & O protection.
Use reporting to monitor and grow your book of business. New business reports give an idea of your annual cycle and referral methods – that is, if you track referral methods in your management system (you should!). Retention reports provide similar information, giving a look at your annual and monthly rates and average length of retention. Pay attention to drop off patterns as they may signal gaps in your customer service.
Improve your retention and referral by building customer relationships. Your agency management system’s email integration and notes features can help you track customer engagement, growing your relationship with each customer. Calendar and reminder features allow you to track birthdays, anniversaries, or other important events and remind you to reach out. These small touches can make a big difference.
Many agency members will look at this list and think, “Great – but how do we start maximizing our management system this way?” The key is changing agency culture to focus on continual learning and improvement. Start by:
Accessing your provider’s learning resources
Providing time on the job to share best practices
Engaging your provider’s training teams
At SIS, we’re continually improving our Partner XE management system to meet our client’s needs and engaging agencies in ways to use Partner XE to the fullest. Through agency specific workshops, regional trainings, and online support, we’re committed to helping our clients maximize their Partner XE experience.
As Client Services Director at Strategic Insurance Software (SIS), I get the chance to hear directly from clients on how our Partner XE management system affects insurance agency workflows. We’re constantly working to improve the Partner XE experience, offering frequent updates to the system.
These updates are designed to help agencies run better, faster, and more efficiently. Yet in those first few days of a new release, our team is often flooded with the same questions:
“Why another update?”
Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” We believe the same.[bctt tweet=”Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” We believe the same.” via=”no”] As our clients’ agencies grow, they require new and improved features like:
These are just a few of our most recent updates, and only a fraction of the enhancements yet to come. We know our customers need an agency management system that keeps up with the growth and change in the insurance industry. Which brings us to our next question:
“Who decided on these changes?”
Every Partner XE update is 100% client-driven. Our system improvements come from agency feedback and are agency-tested and approved. Our Customer Support team and Company Leadership are always accessible and available to talk with users about their Partner XE experience. Each agency suggestion is recorded and reviewed.
The decision to implement a new feature or change comes from all areas of the company: from Sales to Customer Support and Product Management to Development. Other factors, such as complexity, number of agencies requesting the change, and impact play a role in the decision to implement something new.
Management system updates are designed to help agencies work faster and better, but implementation can be challenging. Around update time we tend to hear:
“How can we better prepare for the next release?”
The first step is acknowledging the need to prepare, so agencies asking this question are on the right track. To accommodate all users, we offer:
Interactive training webinars: We recognize our clients have a job to do and don’t have a lot of time to learn about the changes in each release, so we schedule webinars at multiple times to accommodate schedules. For those who can’t attend, we post the webinar on our PartnerNet client portal to view at any time.
Always available online resources: We dedicate a QuickGuide to each new feature or enhancement. Guides include step-by-step instructions and video tutorials, all available on PartnerNet. We’ve also included links to these guides in Partner XE so users can get the help they need the moment they need it.
One-step installation: Many improvements require changes on both servers and local computers. Through the years, we have worked to improve the ease of upgrading. Most updates simply require new files be downloaded to local workstations.
No matter how great the video or detailed the steps, sometimes our clients simply want to talk to a person. Our Customer Support team is always there. If clients have an issue to talk through, they can email Customer Support and get an almost immediate response. Whether by phone or email, our team is there to ensure each agency experiences a smooth workflow.
We believe in listening to our clients, helping them challenge the status quo, and invest in an agency management system that is investing in them. To find out more about the Partner XE system, the SIS team, and how we can help improve your agency operations, contact us at 800.747.7005, Option 6 or email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
Planning for the future is never easy, but it can seem even more complicated when thinking about your business's future. When it comes to transitions, you need insurance agency support on all sides. One critical support area is agency accounting. The dollars and cents...
Insurance retention and prospecting, though similar to other industries, has its own nuances. As a highly personalized business, insurance agencies need to focus on each lead segment's specific needs and, as the sales funnel narrows, the personal needs of each...
As your agency transitions back to “business as usual,” you’ll likely focus on how to gain new clients and serve current clients better. We hope this list of our recent posts on how to gain insurance clients can help. This year, we at SIS have focused on building out...