Why Go Virtual?

Virtual, digital, tech – whatever you want to call it your agency needs to embrace it. Digitizing elements of your customer service and other processes hold a host of benefits for you and your client base. For starters, going digital can:

  • Save money: One agency that embraced a digital insurance platform reported up to a 50 percent cost reduction. Though you may not see as dramatic a shift, moving to digital platforms will definitively reduce your spending.
  • Improve customer satisfaction: That same agency also saw a 40 percent increase in customer satisfaction. Virtual customer service methods allow for 24/7 service, shorter wait times, and faster results, leading to an overall better experience for your customers.
  • Better your agency: Industry tech captures important data you can use to improve your overall operations. Plus, tech streamlines processes, leaving you more time to focus on big-picture improvements to your business.

Does your team need more convincing? Check out our blog on Leading Your Agency into the Digital Age to help them along

Adding Digital to Your Agency

There are a lot of new digital platforms and virtual solutions out there. Some may work for your agency now, others may be a bit farther down the road. No matter where you are in your digital journey, keep these tools in mind for your virtual ventures.

  1. Automated and Integrated Systems

Duplicated and inefficient operations are a huge drain on your agency. Integrated systems, like accounting and email, can help you process information fast and practically error-free. A recent McKinsey study found that automation has great potential in the industry and could cut costs by up to 40 percent.

  1. Paperless Workflows

Moving files to digital and storing them in the cloud not only helps the environment, it helps your business. Digitized files are easily searchable, saving you hours of looking for that missing document. And, virtual document processes move much faster than pen and paper. Plus, data captured digitally is proven to be more accurate as it can instantly be scrubbed for errors.

  1. Chatbots

Don’t get scared away! While Chatbots may seem like the archetype of impersonal tech support, studies have shown almost 75 percent of customers see the benefit of this tech tool. Most of the benefit lies in the 24/7 availability. Chatbots can answer questions any time – day or night – and take less time to get to an answer than a phone call or email. That quick response time is important: 70 percent of callers said they have hung up while waiting for customer service to respond. Chatbots can get people connected, keeping your customers engaged and happy.

Where are you in your digital journey? Find out in our post on what digital insurance means for independent agents

  1. Telematics (for auto)

This system is beneficial for auto insurers as it provides accurate data on an insured’s driving habits. A telematic box has GPS, SIM card, motion sensors and other software to keep track of what’s happening to a car. With this data, insurers can determine driver safety and get more info about what happened at an accident. The more you know about the vehicle you’re insuring, the better.

  1. Texting

At first texting may seem impersonal – why type when you can talk? Think of it like an email: through texting you can communicate with customers without bothering them. They can read and respond when they’re able, which is usually when you’re not available. Texting is great for claims processing. It allows you to process faster as you don’t have to wait to schedule a good time to call. And, you can sync texting with marketing automation, allowing you to schedule messages and auto-respond to questions. It’s one more way to keep you connected, without being intrusive.

If you’re just getting started in texting, read our post on texting tips for independent agencies

  1. Client Portal

If you only do one thing to leap into digital, get a client portal. Client portals give customers a sense of ownership and control as they’re able to take care of their needs, and it saves you time not having to do it yourself. Within a client portal, customers can print ID cards, download certificates, submit claims, and view and compare policies among other helpful actions. When synced with your management system, client portals can feed back data to let you know when customers are making changes and prompt you to connect. And it’s available 24/7, anywhere in the world. No matter how good you are, you can’t beat that.

Keeping the Personal

Moving to virtual methods doesn’t mean losing that important connection you have with your customers. In fact, a recent Google study found more than 60 percent of mobile users still call a business once they’re in the purchase phase of the buying cycle. Customer aren’t looking to detach from you, they’re just looking to get what they need faster. You can make the digital personal in the way you choose to use it.

  • Keep your phone lines open! Chatbots and client portals shouldn’t replace your service, just add to it.
  • Use the information you gain to deepen relationships and connections. The engagement you see through marketing automation and other systems can be used to make your phone or in-person interactions even better.
  • Leverage digital to keep you on track with building those connections. Integrated marketing and client portals can feed into your management system and remind you to reach out at pivotal moments, like policy renewal dates.
  • Connect people to each other. Use what you learn about your customers to get them in touch with each other via social media or through in-person events. Digital should only enhance your ability to make these personal connections.

Check out our tips on handling agency technology here

Extending the Personal to Your Partners

The value of personal connections extends beyond your relationship with your customers. You should have the same connection with your service partners. At SIS, the relationships we build with our clients allows us to bring our partner agencies exactly what they need.

Our Partner Platform is built on personalization with an integrated client portal, texting, and marketing automation among other digital tools to help you perform your best. Hear what our partner agencies have to say about their Partner Platform experience on our client stories page. And, connect with us – we want to get to know you and your agency.

Sarah Deak

Sarah Deak has been contributing to the SIS team since 2013, covering topics like agency perpetuation, workflow improvements, data security, and marketing. She has a background in small business, working with organizations to improve their online presence and client engagement. Sarah also writes for the SIS newsletters and website, and counts herself lucky to hear from our many passionate, hard-working clients for our client stories. Her favorite part about working for SIS are the dedicated, service-minded people.