For most independent insurance agencies, superior customer service is their bread and butter. Beyond serving your local community and providing a quality service to those in need, good customer service is also tied to better business. One survey recently found over 80% of respondents would pay more for a better customer service experience. There is value in bettering your customers’ experience, and you already have the means in your agency workflows.
These five steps can help you gain insight into customer needs and put them into practice.
Step 1: Identify Interaction Points
Take a look at the where you interact with customers: online, over the phone, in person – all of these are opportunities to gain information on what your customers want and care about. Once you know what matters to them, you can start putting them into practice in these existing interactions.
Get more insights on how to improve customer relationships on our blog
Step 2: Document Customer Interactions
Once you know where you’re interacting with customers, come up with a method to document each encounter. The more in-depth info you collect, the better. Management system mobile apps come in handy here as they allow agents to immediately document meetings and their details. Email and texting integration are also beneficial as each instantly captures an entire exchange and syncs to the customer’s record.
Step 3: Determine Where Interaction Documentation Lives
Once you have a way to record information on customer interactions, you need to have a place to put that information. Too often, agents and CSRs are keeping customer interaction data in siloed spaces. You need to find a spot to bring it all together. Ideally, your agency management system is built to address the needs of your service and sales teams.
Step 4: Establish Process to Follow Up on Interactions
Tracking customer interactions is only a piece of what you’re trying to accomplish. To truly improve these interactions, you need to follow up on conversations. In most cases, follow up comes from a CSR providing service to conclude a suspense, but not all conversations have such defined follow-up needs. Some interactions need a simple check-in to see how things are going and to get a feel of whether a customer was satisfied with the service they received. This can be via automated or manual methods or a combination of both.
Never forget to follow up – get reminders through Partner Platform’s Marketing Automation Manager
Step 5: Ensure You Have the Right Tools to Get the Job Done
For any customer interaction to happen, you need to provide ways for customers to connect with your agency. The essential customer connection tools are 1) an easy to use and understand website, 2) customer-facing mobile app, and 3) branded client portal. Each of these tools face out to the customer and give them an opportunity to connect with you.
We’ve brought all three together in our latest Partner Platform addition, Partner Connect. Partner Connect is a multi-faced customer experience for users to enhance customer communication with agency-branded tools. With multiple offer levels to fit your agency, Partner Connect provides all the tools you need at the right price.
Find out more about Partner Connect and the Partner Platform agency management system – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.747.7005, Option 6.
We’re living in a digital world. It’s estimated that by 2040, 95 percent of purchases will be via online methods. And with good reason – digital purchasing is faster, more efficient, and less expensive for both merchant and buyer. But there is still a part of digital business that looms: cyber-attacks on your insurance agency systems.
It’s reported that by 2018 nearly 70 percent of businesses experienced a cyber-attack. Even scarier, a Nationwide survey showed only 9 percent of companies said they were victims of an attack when in fact, after seeing a list of harmful activity, at least 50 percent had experienced one. Chances are those businesses didn’t know how to prevent an attack, either.
Get more detailed info on protecting your agency in our Cyber Security and Data Protection eGuide
Knowing the Threats
The first step to protecting your agency and its data is knowing what threats are out there. The most common threats are:
- Viruses infecting systems and destroying data
- Hackers breaking into systems and stealing personal data
- Employees leaving systems open for passersby to see and steal info
Unfortunately, the last threat is more common than you may think. IBM and Ponemon’s Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Study showed 27 percent of data attacks were due to human error while 25 percent were a system glitch. That’s over half of cyber weaknesses falling squarely in the laps of the victims.
Read more on how to keep your agency safe from cybersecurity experts in the industry
Implementing Insurance Agency System Solutions
The good news is you have control over these vulnerabilities. You can decrease your likelihood of attack through a few simple agency system solutions:
- Limit access to sensitive data
- Require multi-character encrypted passwords that change regularly to access data
- Conduct background checks on employees who access sensitive information
- Educate employees on best practices, such as only accessing data on private networks
- House data on a secure, off-site server with redundant back-up and outsourced security monitoring
- Regularly test your security systems, including drills for employees
- Purchase liability insurance for your agency in case of unpreventable threats
Read the Top 4 Reasons to House Your Insurance Data Offsite on our blog
Finding a Partner You Can Trust
At SIS, we always have security top of mind. Every Partner Platform upgrade is coupled with security testing, ensuring we’re handing our Partner agencies a safe, secure, effective tool. And we leverage state-of-the-art technology to hold customer data in facilities with geographic redundancy, data encryption, and backups compliant with industry and government standards.
We work hard to earn and keep our Partner agencies’ trust. See what they have to say about our security and service: check out our Client Stories page to find out more.
Close to 90% of people say they always have their smartphone close. That’s 90% of people who can read and respond to anything sent to their phone almost immediately. With that sort of accessibility, integrated texting is a critical insurance management system tool. Texting is a great way to get short, important messaging to your agency’s prospects and clients, providing the convenient communication they desire.
Texting and Your Agency: Efficiency and Safety
Texting is not only fast, it’s also effective: texting open rates are around 98% while email is still hovering around less than 25%. With texting, you can schedule messaging knowing the recipient will almost certainly read it.
Dive deeper into texting and your agency with our post on texting best practices
Beyond its speed and efficiency, texting can also be a great addition to your E&O toolbelt. Integrated texting allows you to capture everything you sent in your agency management system, attaching it to client and prospect profiles as needed. This allows you to have a permanent record of your conversation instantly.
And, texting is a lifesaver when it comes to claims management. Texting allows clients to take photos and send information the moment an accident happens, making the information that much more reliable. In many cases, texting is even better than opening an app as it requires no sign-in and it’s a process the client knows well.
Get best practices on all agency communications on the SIS blog
Texting and the Partner Platform
At SIS, we’ve worked with our customers to provide all the efficiencies they need while remaining E&O complaint. That’s why we added integrated texting to the Partner Platform.
Texting is integrated directly so our Partner agencies can send messages right through the system and replies will be captured and paired with prospect and client profiles. And, it’s easy for clients to opt-out per texting regulations. It’s just another way Partner Platform helps your agency get more done, better.
Learn more about our integrated texting, and other Partner Platform features: contact us today to view a demo and see how Partner Platform can transform your agency.
The insurance industry has changed over the past 20 years. Paper files and phone calls have given way to digital processes, email, texting, and more. Your insurance support team’s needs have changed, too – or so we hope.
The average insurance agent is 59 years old and only a few years off from retirement. To keep your team fresh, you need to bring in younger agents. Soon enough you’ll have no choice – Millennials and Generation Z will account for 58 percent of the workforce by 2029. You need to “get with the program” to attract and keep young talent – but how?
How to Attract Young Hires….
Technology usage is the first thing new hires will notice. Members of the young workforce are used to using tech for business and leisure. They’ll expect you to provide more than a laptop and cell phone; they’ll look for paperless processes, modern communication and collaboration tools, and opportunities to get work done virtually.
Read more on going paperless – why your customers want it and how to get started
Young hires expect information to be found and shared easily through a centralized location. Leverage your agency management system to bridge the processing gap. Tap into your system’s ability to store files, capture emails, and add tasks among other capabilities. And, make texting part of your communication strategy, both internally and externally. This is an area where young hires will be savvy – they’ll expect to use texting for communicating with their team, lead generation, and closing deals.
The best thing you can do to attract and keep young talent is to embrace virtual work systems. Sales hinges on creating and growing relationships, so a virtual sales team may seem counterintuitive. However, as a virtual team your agents can connect more efficiently. Virtual work allows them to connect from anywhere, making it easier to bring meetings to clients and get work done while they wait. In less than ten years, it’s estimated 73 percent of businesses teams will have remote workers. Offering virtual work opportunities is not just smart; it’s inevitable.
Get more resources on how to make your agency virtual, yet personal
…And How to Keep Them
Getting Millennials and Gen Z to apply is only the first hurdle. Once you have a quality candidate in the door, how do you get them to say yes for years to come?
Start by updating your interview process. The work has changed, the workforce has changed, so how you interview needs to change, too. Focus more on how candidates work in a team and their ability to understand and leverage technology. Be sure to talk about how you’re team-focus and tech-adaptive, too. And, focus more on culture. One author found millennials were willing to take an over $7K pay cut to gain a better workplace culture. Now that’s leverage.
You’ll also need to update your onboarding. The first few months in any new position are challenging, so the smoother you can make the ride, the better. Culture again plays a key role. Be intentional about introducing new hires to team members, setting aside time to outline the processes and tools used within each environment.
Provide training + mentorship. Pair new hires up with someone to walk with them through training, serving as a guide to answer questions along the way. This pairing provides a double benefit to you: new hires feel connected, and veterans get a refresher on your tools and processes. Assuming they have a positive experience, new hires can later pay-it-forward to the next fresh team member.
Don’t forget about your long-term employees – help them transition to new tech and processes, too
Helping Your Team Grow
Growing your team is about more than adding new people to your staff contact list, it’s about listening and providing people what they need to improve. Meet up regularly with old and new team members, both individually and as a group. This simple act shows you care – and that goes a long way.
We know how important it is to listen and connect because that’s what we do at SIS: listen and learn to mutually grow. Through our workgroups, Regional Learnings, and forums, we focus on staying in touch with our Partner Platform community. Like any community, when our clients grow, we do, too.
Find out more about the Partner community– read our client stories and connect with us at 800.747.7005, Option 6 or
Having a mobile-enabled agency is critical to future growth and success. J.D. Power and Associates reported that 42% of claimants surveyed used an agency mobile app. That number will only continue to grow. As the independent channel competes with the direct writers of the world, you need this top agency management system tool.
There are two mobile apps you need to stay relevant: an internal app connecting with your agency management system and a client facing app for customers to connect to you.
Internal Mobile App: Connecting Your Team
An internally connected mobile app allows your agency team to access client, policy and claim information anywhere, anytime. That means faster service for your clients, better connection for your staff, and it even serves as back-up should your agency lose power or experience other technical issues.
An agency management system mobile app extension is also an excellent sales tool. Agents can add in notes and update prospect profiles immediately after meeting, And, they can reference game-changing info during sales conversations. Plus, a mobile app serves as a great task list, keeping your sales team on top of follow-ups and other prospect requests.
Check out these other essential tech tools you need to stay up-to-date in your agency
Client Mobile App: Leveling Up Your Customer Service
Mobile access for clients via a branded mobile app is also a must. With a mobile app, your policyholders can access account information all in one place. It’s convenient, efficient, and essential. With a mobile app, your customers should be able to:
- Search for and download your app right in the app store
- See your agency name and logo on the app icon and within the app for a fully-branded experience
- Access important policy and coverage information, ID cards, list of drivers on their policies, and claims information among other relevant documents
- File a claim or send important information back to the agency via the app
- Receive updates from you via push notifications for things like inclement weather notices, policy renewals, and billing inquiries
Before going mobile, check out these tips on handling agency technology
Getting the Right App for Your Agency
The first step in getting your agency on mobile is finding an app that fits your needs. No matter which you choose, find one that syncs with your agency management system. The data captured via mobile apps is invaluable to your agency, and you want to ensure it’s going right into your system.
At SIS, we know the power of that data. That’s why we added mobile to our Partner Platform agency management tool. This “always on” cloud-hosted access is convenient, intuitive, and secure, hitting all the boxes for a mobile management system app.
Find out more on our mobile offering and other Partner Platform capabilities at https://sispartnerplatform.com.