Using Automation Technology to its Fullest
Best Practice #3 – Establish Documented Workflow Procedures & File Naming Conventions
If you want to maximize productivity in your independent insurance agency, establishing documented workflows and file naming conventions ( inside and out of your agency management system) is critical.
Ever spent hours looking for something that was filed incorrectly? Or trying to find something a co-worker worked on only to be stumped by his or her unique filing procedures? To say that it is “no fun” would be an understatement – especially when the rest of your work is piling up minute by minute. The time it takes to get organized up front will pay dividends 100 times over in terms of increased productivity. Make a plan. Stick to the plan. Enforce the plan.
Though important in any work environment, established, documented, enforced workflow procedures and set file naming conventions are critical for independent insurance agencies moving towards a paperless system.
Filing Conventions Within Your Agency Management System
Each agency management system will work slightly differently when it comes to the naming of documents—some making files simpler to retrieve than others. (Partner XE, for example, will allow the user to filter “like” documents to help them get to the one they are looking for quickly.) Regardless of which system you are on, (and even if the filter is available) it makes sense to come up with a consistent naming system and make sure that everyone on the system uses it. In most cases you should be able to add a custom description when saving a file. File names should include:
- File type
- Client Name
- Description of Document
- Be specific with your descriptions. Avoid generic terms. Remember, over a period of time you may end up having 10 “Applications” for John Doe and you’ll want to be able to determine one from the next just by glancing at the file name.
- Separate File Name, date, etc. by a hyphen, an underscore or a period. Just make sure whatever you choose up front is what you stick with for the duration.
… And on Your Desktop
Although this post is about using automation technology (a.k.a. your insurance software) to its fullest, consistent file naming conventions should by no means be relegated to files saved in your agency management system. The same logic applies to files saved on your desktop, your office server or in any type of shared file arrangement. Doing things right the first time will save time, headaches and hours of frustration.