You need new customers to stay in business. It’s a truth all agency owners know, and one that plagues many. Identifying and closing leads seems like a never-ending struggle.
Often, these same struggling owners aren’t investing in insurance prospecting software. Therein lies ones of their issues. Insurance and sales technology has exploded over the last decade, and anyone that hasn’t adopted these technologies will be left behind.
What are these essential insurance prospecting tools? We’ve outlined a few must-haves below.
Check out our best prospecting blogs in our post on “6 Key Blogs for Insurance Prospecting”
Effective marketing is integral to sales, and marketing automation is critical in modern marketing. With marketing automation, you can set up campaigns to target different audience segments, schedule messaging to deliver at critical points in the buyer’s journey, and gain volumes of valuable data. You can use this data to personalize outreach, yielding higher response and conversion rates.
Customer Relationship Management Tool (CRM)
If you’re in sales, you need a customer relationship management tool (CRM). CRMs are designed with sales in mind, created to track and nurture leads. Marketing automation and CRM tools need to be connected, sharing data, and working together to qualify and convert leads. CRMs are your centralized place for all prospecting activity, showing you where you stand with each individual prospect and overall. This full picture can tell you what methods are working, which need improvement, and what you can expect from leads in similar segments.
Read more on the nuances of prospecting as an independent agency here
Mobile Management System Access
We’ve all got our smartphones in our pocket, and successful agents need their agency management system there, too. Sales happen on-the-go, so you need to be able to get the info necessary to close a deal no matter where you are when you need it. Mobile management system access allows you to look up contact info and view and take notes on interactions among other pertinent actions.
Integrated Text and Email
The more information you have on interactions with each contact, the better. When texting and email messaging are integrated with your management system, you increase that data gathering. Integrated texting and email guarantee every message you send links to that contact without any extra work on your end.
Get tips on how to find prospecting opportunities in unexpected places
This one may seem disconnected from prospecting, but a proposal creator, in fact, hits right at your prospecting goal: making the sale. With a proposal creator, you can quickly create multiple options for a potential client and move through the underwriting process faster. When it comes to making your pitch, time is of the essence, so the quicker you can get a proposal into a prospect’s hands, the better.
A Partner in Your Corner
Our goal at SIS is to equip our Partner Platform agencies with the tools they need to bring in more business. That’s why we’ve integrated all these prospecting elements into our robust Partner Platform agency management tool.
Each of these capabilities came right from our Partner agencies, through interactions with our community at our National User Conference, Regional Learnings, and User Groups as part of our Partner Agents community.
Find out more about this vibrant community at partneragents.com. And, see how Partner Platform can help your agency grow by requesting a demo today.
Customer service is getting speedier and more personalized across industries. From banks to grocery stores, people expect to get their needs met almost immediately.
An Aspect Software report found 73% of customers want to solve their product or service issues on their own. And, 60% of customers prefer an automated self-service website or mobile app to get the job done.
These same customers are your customers. If you don’t have the insurance tech needed to match these growing expectations, you’ll be counted out. So, what tech do you need to keep up?
Read more on what customers want and how to choose the best insurance tech
Top Self-Service Insurance Tech for the Independent Agency
We’ve seen a lot change over our decades of service to independent agencies, but the recent jump in self-service tech is a whole new ballgame. We’re here to stay on top of these advances and equip our Partner agencies with the tools they need to serve their customers better. Below are the top self-service tools we’ve identified and our recent posts detailing the benefits and importance of each.
- Customer Self-Service Portals: Customers want instant access to policy information, including plan details and insurance cards. Find out how these portals can cut down service responses, saving you time and money while improving customer service. See our post “Why Agencies Fear the Self-Service Portal and Why They Shouldn’t”
- Mobile Websites & Apps: We hold a wealth of information in our pockets, and your customers expect to be able to access your agency info via that mobile device by their side. See why mobile access is critical, especially for things like submitting accident info and getting claims updates. Read our post on “Top Agency Management System Tools: The Insurance Mobile App”.
- Integrated Texting: Texting is now the number one mode for quick information exchange. Your customers expect to be able to reach you by text, and your management system needs to be able to capture that exchange with texting integration. Learn more about integrated texting in our post “Insurance Management System Musts: Integrated Texting”.
- Marketing automation: With marketing automation, you can provide customers with the information they need right when they need it. Automated messages are sent when triggered by customer actions, like clicking on “request a quote”. Get more information on how marketing automation can help customers in our post “Marketing Automation: Your Key to Omnichannel Insurance Sales”.
- Chatbots and A.I.: New to the insurance sector, chatbots and A.I. are quickly becoming commonplace in other customer-focused industries. Both help customers and prospects by routing them to the right person and immediately providing CSRs the information needed to solve the problem. See more on chatbots and other customer service software in our post on “Building a Virtual, Yet Personal Agency”.
Increasing Your Customer Connection with Partner Connect
Our Partner agencies are on the cutting edge of customer self-service with tools like integrated texting, marketing automation, and email integration, and we’re stepping things up with our latest Partner Platform addition, Partner Connect.
Partner Connect is a multi-level offering that includes a custom client self-service portal, agency mobile app, and branded website designed for customer convenience, agency availability, and brand promotion.
Read more about Partner Connect here and get in touch with an SIS team member today to find out more.
We’re more than halfway through 2019, and as the days continue to get warmer, this year’s tech trends are heating up, too. We took a look back at some 2019 digital insurance trend predictions to see if they still hold up. What we found was many have moved from “up and coming” to “here to stay.” Here are the top six you need to embrace before the year comes to a close.
Top 6 Digital Insurance Advances to Embrace by 2020
- Cloud storage and security
As many as 7 out of 10 insurance carriers today utilize cloud technology, and it’s no surprise why. Cloud storage is scalable, flexible, and secure, allowing your business to grow while staying safe. With the rise of data protection trough the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and consumer privacy legislation in seven states, protecting client data is quickly becoming a must.
Find out more about data privacy regulations and how to keep your agency safe
- Data-informed decision making
The data you’re protecting can be put to good use through predictive analysis. Info gathered from marketing automation and CRMs can tell a lot about where a consumer will go next. Smart devices in cars and homes also provide valuable info. All this data can be used to establish pricing, predict risk, and identify customers looking to add lines or those at risk of cancellation.
- Omnichannel outreach
While phone calls and mailing still work, almost 90% of retailers recognize that an omnichannel approach is necessary to win business. This means reaching out to customers via multiple channels, like social media, email, and through texting or an agency mobile app. The more ways you’re engaging with prospects the better.
See how to leverage an omnichannel marketing approach for your agency
- Self-service tech
Customer-facing mobile apps and self-service portals are now the norm in the industry. A recent Microsoft survey found 90% of users expected an online portal with mobile access from their providers. Customers want to access the information they need the moment they need it, and these self-service methods allow them to, without you having to do any extra work. Plus, info from customer and prospect interactions with these tools can feed back into your marketing and lead nurturing systems to help you win more business and keep more customers.
- Chatbots and other A.I.
Artificial intelligence (A.I.) and chatbots are no longer a thing of the future – they are here and now. Both are becoming standard in many customer-facing industries, including insurance. Some estimates show that by 2025, 95% of all customer interactions will start with chatbots. Through a chatbot, customers and prospects can get questions answered fast or be directed to the right contact quickly. Bots can save time, provide more immediate service, and overall streamline operations.
- Commercial lines comparative raters
Comparative raters have been popular with personal lines for years, but now it’s commercial lines’ time. Tech advances made it possible to scan through hundreds of commercial lines offerings to find the best for your customers and prospects. Such fast processing is now the norm, meaning agencies without comparative rater abilities will be left behind.
Find out how to leverage the latest technology for your agency here
Finding a Management System that Can Keep Up
With the rapid pace of these tech advancements, it’s important to take a look at current systems and ask: will we make it to 2020 and beyond with this? At SIS, we’re confident our clients will all say, “Yes.”
Our Partner Platform agency management system suite is specifically designed to keep up with changing technology. As tech has evolved, we’ve added elements like our Marketing Automation Manager, Producer Results Manager CRM, and now customer engagement suite Partner Connect. With Partner Connect, agencies get an all-in-one integrated client outreach and support system, including a client portal, branded agency app, and mobile-ready website all connected to a high-powered agency management system.
Learn more about Partner Platform and view a demo today at sisparterplatform.com.
Agency and insurance management system data security has always been a top priority for us at SIS. We built our Partner Platform agency management system suite with data safety and cybersecurity in mind, and it continues to be a topic we follow.
This past May, agency data security was one of our key topics at our annual Partner National User Conference, where we heard from industry expert Brad Ruben on how to prevent and prepare for security attacks.
One of the reasons we asked Brad to speak is we know security takes teamwork. Though we are confident we’re providing the most secure system to our partner agencies, they are still at risk if they’re not equipping their staff to watch for cyber-attacks.
This summer, we encourage you to take the time to look at your data security measures and re-commit as a staff to protect your customers. Here’s a little advice to get you started.
Get a full re-cap on our National User Conference from SIS President Michael Doran here
Advice from Experts: Equip and Educate
Archway Computer CEO Brad Ruben’s presentation at our National User Conference had quite an impact on attendees. Multiple agency representatives walked away with practical, actionable advice on how they could better manage and protect their data. Highlights from his presentation included:
- There is cause for concern. Over 33,000 phishing attacks and 4,000 successful ransomware attacks occur each day.
- Anti-virus protection is a must. Programs like Webroot and Malware Bytes are essential to keeping you safe.
- Cloud services are the future of security. Data hosting services like Amazon Web Services have 24/7 data surveillance, redundant backups, and multi-character encryption to keep your data safer than you can on your own.
Find out why you should be moving your agency data to the cloud
The most significant takeaway was the emphasis on educating staff on data security. Some of Brad’s tips included:
- Delete suspicious emails. Never click on links from unfamiliar senders. Delete emails from unknown sources and report them to your IT team.
- Password protect sensitive files. When moving files to a USB, sending through email, or saving on a laptop, add password protection to keep them safe.
- Use complex passwords. Employ number, letter, and punctuation combinations, including using different cases for letters. And be sure to use multiple passwords, so you don’t have just one tied to all accounts.
- Don’t install programs you don’t know. Even something as harmless looking as a computer game or unknown anti-virus software can be hiding as malicious programs. Ensure staff consult with IT before installing anything.
SIS Partner Platform agencies can access the full presentation on PartnerNet
Read more ways to minimize agency data security risks
Mandates from States: Staying Up to Standards
Though you should be keeping your agency data safe no matter what, some agencies are legally obligated to do so by their state. States like New York, Ohio, and South Carolina have individual regulations agencies should know.
We keep our standards in line with the strictest state regulations, ensuring Partner Platform is up to standard throughout the U.S. Some of the measures we use include:
- Restricted admin access limiting only a few select persons to accessing data.
- Multi-factor authentication and complex passwords to access restricted data.
- End-to-end data encryption to ensure information is continually protected.
- Safe and swift disposal of nonpublic information the moment it’s no longer needed.
- Redundant back-ups and disaster recovery plan to safeguard against power outages or security breaches.
Discover more on our commitment to data security here
Get the Right Data Security Partner in SIS
We make a commitment to our partner agencies to uphold the highest security standards, ensuring they can trust us with their data. We’re partners in security with our clients, working with and for them to create and support sustainable, secure infrastructure.
Hear what our clients have to say about their experience with Partner Platform and SIS on our Client Stories page.
Want to find out more? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.747.7005, Option 6.
What makes quality customer service? Really, it’s not for you to say – it’s for your customers to define. Your customers have grown used to certain levels of service, and those expectations affect what they look for in their insurance agency support. And they’ll leave if they don’t see it.
“The way we’ve always done it” doesn’t work anymore. Legacy systems, siloed departments, and years-old processes lead to slow service and irritated customers. In a recent survey, more than 60% of P&C insurers revealed they still relied on these old processes and systems. Outdated technology leads to inefficient processes, which translate to lousy service.
How can your agency avoid falling into this service slow-down trap?
Know What Customers Want
Step one to meeting customer expectations is knowing what they want. According to our research, insurance customers look for:
- Mobile website access: A 2016 Accenture study showed 41% of respondents used a mobile device to make their insurance purchase – a number that is likely much higher now.
- Online portals: A recent Microsoft survey found 90% of respondents expected their provider to have an online portal and mobile access to it.
- Mobile app: A D. Power and Associates study found 74% of agencies surveyed offer an app for customers to manage policies and process claims via mobile.
- AI insights: An Accenture study found almost three-quarters of customers are “very or somewhat willing” to get insurance advice and answers from a computer-generated platform.
- Results from shared data: The same Accenture survey revealed 57% of respondents recognize the importance of sharing their data with insurers and are willing to do so in exchange for “added benefits” like personalized offers and discounts.
- Single point contact: Your customers value speed, but they also value consistency. A McKinsey survey showed when agencies moved customers to have a single point of contact, satisfaction increased by 50% and follow-ups decreased by more than 80%.
Discover the key to high customer satisfaction on our blog
Decide What Tech is Worth the Investment
There are dozens of tech solutions out there to meet the above customer needs, but that doesn’t mean they are all right for your agency. Start by deciding what tools you need (i.e., customer portal, CRM, marketing automation) and then look at specific systems. When looking, be sure to:
- Check with your management system user group to get advice and hear experiences
- Ensure new tools are compatible with your current systems
- Asses time savings and efficiency improvements as well as cost savings
- Ask about training and support provided
- Go for tools and systems with dynamic updates so you don’t need to buy the latest version year after year
Gain more insights on choosing the right tech for your agency here
Get All Your Insurance Support Needs in One Place
If you need a mobile app, we got that. Want a customer portal? We got that, too. CRM? Marketing automation? Mobile website templates? Yes, yes, and yes.
You can get all the insurance customer support tech you want, and the superior service you need to back it up, with the Partner Platform from SIS. With your management system, marketing, sales outreach, and customer support all in one pace, Partner Platform provides the unifying communications required to meet customer needs.
With Partner Platform, you’ll also get our new Partner Connect customer communication tool. Partner Connect ensures customers are being heard and supplied with the tools they want to connect with you.
Find out more about this innovative insurance customer support tool and the team behind it. Contact us at 800.747.7005, Option 6 or email@example.com.
As a small business with tight margins, independent insurance agents are smart to be wary of insurance software trends. New software requires investment – of both money and time – and agency owners want to be sure these investments pay off.
We’ve got our ear to the ground when it comes to agency “here and gone” versus “here to stay” trends. These are six trends-turned traits to add to your agency ASAP.
- Self-Service Portals
With the ability to offer electronic payments, printable ID cards, and contact information updates, a self-service portal is a must in the digital age. Customers will expect you to have an agency-branded portal to help them take care of business immediately, day or night, without waiting on your agency to take action.
- Mobile Apps (for you and your customers)
A recent Agency Revolution poll showed 84% of customers said they don’t want a phone call from their agent with questions – they want an app to connect. You need an outward facing app for your customers to upload claim information and get the answers they need on the go. The same is true for your agents. An app synced with your agency management system provides instant access to critical information while they’re out in the field.
- eSignature Integration
As printers become more scarce, esigning is becoming more popular. Your agency should have esignature integration built into your policy process to speed up purchase and quicken claims resolution, among other actions. And, esignatures provide an added level of security in an age where cyber threats loom.
Read more on data security and your agency on the SIS blog
- Integrated CRM
An integrated Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) provides your agents the organization they need for better prospecting. With an integrated CRM, you can leverage your agency management system constituents for cross-selling, referrals, and more. Set up outreach campaigns for audience groups and create targeted messaging to increase your reach and response.
- Marketing Automation
Integrated marketing automation helps you stay on top of connecting with customers and prospects in an era where the onus for outreach is on you. Set up pre-generated emails to welcome customers, remind on renewals, and celebrate special occasions (i.e., birthdays, holidays). Automation helps you keep up regular engagement to welcome new leads, nurture current prospects, and retain customers simultaneously.
Learn more about marketing automation and how it fosters omnichannel outreach here
An All-in-One Agency Management Software Solution
We’re up on insurance software trends here at SIS thanks to constant feedback from our partner agencies. Each and every Partner Platform update is informed by client needs and expert research. See the full list of Partner Platform capabilities here, and experience them in person when you request a demo today.