Every minute counts when it comes to your agency operations. There’s no time to waste in an industry with such tight margins. The difference between gaining and losing a customer can come down to which agency reached out first, so quick action is valued. But, speed isn’t the only factor – quality counts, too. How can you speed up your agency operations without sacrificing your personalized service?
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Step 1: Get a baseline
You need to know where you are in order to determine where to go. Start tracking time and see where you’re using it the most. Track customer service interactions (via phone and online), prospect prep and meetings, claims processing, and other daily tasks.
Once you know where time is being spent, ask yourself: is the time spent effectively? You may be racking up the hours with prospect communication, but if that time pays off with life-long customers it’s worth it. If you’re getting each customer for a year or less, you need to reconsider your client targeting and other prospecting methods. Identify mismatches like this and make a list. These are the processes you need to streamline in one way or another.
Step 2: Move mundane tasks to tech
Chances are many of the high-time, low-value tasks you identify are administrative and mundane. These are exactly the tasks that should move from people to tech-driven.
Some may be wary of the transition to tech, fearing it eliminates the need for people, but the reality is the opposite. Taking time-consuming tasks off an employee’s plate frees up time and mental space for them to do more (and better) in their role.
And, technology can process information faster, meaning your people-driven and tech-driven tasks will both flow quicker. Tasks like prospect follow-up can be scheduled through marketing automation systems, ensuring emails go out at a regular cadence and are captured right in your management system. Paperless workflows are another great time-saver, making it easier to process policy renewals and claims among other paper-heavy items.
Go paperless with our Quick Go-To Guide to Paperless
Step 3: Help customers help themselves
Self-services is more than a growing trend, it’s an expectation. 70% of customers surveyed said they expect an organization’s website to include a self-service application. The good news is self-service benefits customer and business alike. With self-service applications, customers can take care of what they want right away, without taking up time from the business. Essentially, your customers can get immediate service without any time-cost to you.
Like any other use of tech, self-service doesn’t necessarily mean taking people out of the picture. Customers should still be able to get in touch if they need additional support or prefer to talk to a person. Self-service frees up your customer service reps, giving them more time to address in-depth issues.
At a minimum, a client portal on your website can save you hundreds of hours. In this portal, customers can update their contact information, pay bills, and print insurance cards among other processes, all without waiting on you. The 24/7 access makes your customers happy and the 0% time spent means you can invest it somewhere else.
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Step 4: Get integrated
One of the keys to saving time and streamlining operations is reducing duplication. Processes should be done one time, by one person. Data should be entered once, in one place. There’s no need to double your efforts in any area!
Integrated systems virtually eliminate issues of duplication. Synching systems means data is shared seamlessly after entered only once. For example, email integration in your management system allows you to send an email to a prospect or customer from your email system and have that email automatically attach to that constituent’s profile. Not only do you not need to remember to enter the email in your management system, but you also don’t have to take the time to do it. Fewer steps, higher accuracy.
Finding It All in One Place
Your agency management system is the ideal place for putting these time-savers into practice. It’s the heartbeat of your agency and the place through which almost all your work is done. That’s why we designed our Partner Platform to be the ultimate tool in your time-saving tool belt.
With integrated systems, mobile access, and marketing automation among other time-saving capabilities, we believe our Partner Platform is the all-in-one solution for independent agencies. And our clients agree. The dedicated Partner Community is always ready to share tip and tricks, gathering for regional and national user conferences and connecting on our PartnerNet portal.