Control. Fear. Empowerment.
These are just a few of the emotions I’ve seen on both sides of the client self-service portal experience. Agencies wonder if self-service portals will render human agents irrelevant while customers feel emboldened with the freedom to get immediate service. In this context, this top agency management system tool seems like a must-have yet a no-win for independent agencies.
When choosing an agency management system, it can feel like you’re sitting at the poker table. Livelihood and legacy are on the line. If you pick the wrong system, you stand to lose efficiency, time and money. If choose correctly, you win a partner that will help your agency grow to new heights. How do you know which is the right choice?
Does the system have the buy-in to sit at the table?
Management system capabilities like fully integrated accounting, document management and commercial and personal lines download are the buy-in to sit at the table. There may be other capabilities, like email integration or a customer portal, you may also want.
Step one is determining if the system has those capabilities. Step two is testing them out in a demo to see how they function. A system may have a whole host of potentially useful features, but they’re only useful if you and your staff can use them without memorizing a user manual.
The bet in choosing an agency management system comes from things you can’t see on a demo.
What tells should I look for in a management system provider?
There are ways to tell if a management system provider has the right hand for your agency. Three common tells for a quality system and provider include:
You want to choose a management system that supports agency growth. That means being upfront about management system costs and providing value equal to or greater than its cost. When looking at a provider and system, ask yourself:
- Will the system provide efficiency to lessen workload?
- Does the system have annual price increases? If so how much are they?
- Do you have to pay for improvements to the system?
You want a management system provider that holds themselves to the same high-level customer support standards as your agency. Consider questions like:
- How long does it take to receive an answer to a question?
- Do you talk to a real person or an automated system?
- What type of onsite training is provided?
- How much does training for new employees or continued training cost?
You know your customers and they know you. You want the same from your agency management system provider. Determine how you’ll be seen by your provider by answering these questions:
- Can you call the c-suite officers to talk about long-term projects and the future of the business?
- Do they have a product roadmap and do you have input in it?
- Can they provide custom enhancements for your agency?
How do I make an informed bet?
The best way to get the answers you need about a new system and provider is to talk with other agencies who have made the switch. Connect with those that have about the same book of business, organizational structure and future goals as your agency. Talk with them about their decision-making process and experiences with the different providers they tried.
Once you have a short list, ask for references. Evaluate if their answers align with your agency’s needs and put an offer on the table. Your thoroughness will ensure you’ll cash out a winner.
Thinking about stepping up to the table? Take the betting out of it with SIS and our Partner XE management system. Our customizable system, dedicated service team, and engaged Partner XE User community are a sure win for you and your agency. Get in touch with an SIS team member today to get the conversation started.
“The service was excellent.”
This sentence is music to any business owner’s ears. Being known for great customer care and service is the golden ticket to lasting success. So, what does great service look like? We asked Strategic Insurance Software (SIS) staff and clients to talk a bit about what it means to serve and why they’re motivated to go above and beyond for their customers and clients.
The Thayer family has been running Batchelder Brothers Insurance in Sanford, ME for more than 140 years and counting. With history like that, the family-run business has become a cornerstone in the small town. “Our agency is committed to showing the people in this town that we care by protecting their interests, families, and businesses,” owner Andrew Thayer said of the agency. And it’s that care that attracted him to SIS and the Partner XE agency management system.
Running a successful business requires a great team. And not just the people on the payroll. All members of your community – employees, business partners, service providers, and other connections – impact your efforts in some way. Choosing the right community members has a huge impact on your business.
Your agency management system provider is a part of that community. At SIS we take this role seriously – we’re not just providing our partner agencies with a product, we’re creating an experience. And that experience is partnership.
Learn more about who we are at SIS and what partnership means to us
Mattapoisett, MA-based G.H. Dunn Insurance agency has been serving its local New England community for over 80 years. Longevity like that doesn’t happen overnight: three generations of Dunns have helped build the agency’s legacy. And now SIS and Partner XE are part of that winning team.