We’ve looked at a host of ways to increase your independent insurance agency’s email productivity through keeping your inbox safe and managing when and how you send messages. Now, we turn to Outlook and your agency management system as great tools to increase email productivity. The majority of independent insurances agencies use Outlook as their email system, and we’ve compiled a few ways you can utilize Outlook to get more done, faster.
Outlook Tips for Increased Email Productivity
- Use Quicksteps
Quicksteps is a feature found in Outlook 2010 and 2013, located on the top ribbon. You can click the arrow to open up the Quicksteps screen and check out some of the features already set-up. You’ll be amazed to see how many ways you could save time just by using some of these built-in shortcuts. You can also set up your own Quicksteps, such a way to automatically email a certain group of people or to add appointments to your calendar right from an email with a custom keystroke shortcut. Just be sure to test your Quicksteps after you’ve set them up to ensure they work correctly.
- Use folders
As mentioned in a previous post, utilizing Outlook’s folder system can help you categorize your inbox and keep it clean. This also helps you keep information on one topic or project in one place, making it easier to find when needed. In addition, you can create rules to automatically move emails, such as newsletters (see our post on BACN ) or emails sent from a specific co-worker, client or provider.
- Use shortcuts
Just like with Quicksteps, you’d be surprised to see how many keystroke shortcuts already exist in Outlook. LifeHacker went through a list in a recent post, including the familiar “Ctrl+R” to reply to an email, but also “Alt+R” reply to all to an email. Other keystrokes included “Alt+W” to forward an email and “Ctrl+G” to jump to any date in the calendar. See the full list here.
- Use templates
You may find yourself writing the same email, such as a meeting reminder or a request for client info, repeatedly. Once you’ve written out your format, you can save yourself time by creating a template of your commonly sent emails simply by going to “File>Save As>Outlook template”. After creating this template, you go to “New Items>Choose Form” and select your previously created template and insert the updated information. This simple task not only saves time but will also save you from mistypes and spelling errors.
- Use custom task priorities
If you’re not already, you should start using Outlook to track your tasks. When you do, you can create customized prioritizations of each task through the task pane. This helps you easily see which tasks are most important or those that need to completed before other tasks in a project series. This simple visual prioritization will help you tackle things in proper order and keep up on deadlines.
Benefits of Outlook Integration
In addition, it makes sense for your agency management system to work with Outlook in an effort to streamline your processes and flow of communication. Outlook Integration, which allows you to sync Outlook with your agency management system, ensures all your independent insurance agency’s data and communications are in one place. Combining Outlook integration with the above tips on increasing Outlook’s productivity will put you on the path to a more relaxed, successful work day.
We at SIS offer Outlook Integration as one of Partner XE’s many capabilities, and consistently hear feedback like “(Outlook Integration) has made us extremely more efficient in documentation and E&O prevention” (Mark Mraz, Insurance Consultants Group). It’s feedback like this that lets us know we’re giving our clients what they need. To let us know your opinion on Partner XE, or to find out more, contact us today at 800-747-9273 or [email protected].