There is no perfect time for a fresh start – the time is always right to take stock, re-evaluate your processes and goals, and make some changes. This applies to all aspects of your agency, including your agency management system.
Quality management systems and providers evolve with the changing market. Are your system and provider keeping up? Or are you seeing prices go up with little to no changes in your management system experience? Take a critical look at your agency management system and provider, analyzing if you have everything you need to serve your customers and grow your business today and tomorrow with this “fresh start” checklist.
□ Digital Customer Service Tools
Digital service is the new normal, and your agency management system needs to get on board. That means an integrated Client Portal, Agency App, texting, and chat options. Take it from Partner Platform client Britt Linder of Ephlin Insurance Group:
The Client Portal is going to solve (our customer service overload). Giving customers the ability to access their auto ID card, make a payment, and do their certificates will be huge for us on the small commercial business.
□ Data Analytics and Reporting
Digital sales, service, and marketing are the norm, and each is driven by data. Your agency management systems needs to be able to organize and report on data quickly and easily. As a data-based industry, you take in a large amount of information daily and need to process it fast. Data today will be different tomorrow, so you need systems that can keep up with storage and reporting. That quick processing means a lot to agency COO’s like Veronica Edwards of Hugh F. Miller Insurance Agency:
Another small thing that makes a big difference are the reports – they’re so easy! That was something that was a huge pain point with our old provider. Getting reports and trying to run year-end reports would take me almost a month in our old system. I can literally do my year-end reports in about 30 minutes now. It’s crazy the difference.
□ System Integrations
The last thing you need in your agency is additional process steps. What you do need are integrated capabilities including accounting as well as seamless integrations with third party tools including email flowing into your management system so that client communication is centralized in one place. Integrated systems cut down on errors from moving data from one place to another and eliminate bothersome duplication. Cliff Miller of Tri-County Agency, Inc. certainly saw the benefit with his Partner Platform accounting integration:
Agency accounting is complex, and what works for a “normal” business just doesn’t fit for (insurance). With the integration, we can download policies, split commissions, and reconcile with carriers all in one system. Overall, the fact that accounting is supported within the management system is a vital component to our efficiency and confidence in accuracy. It’s a real game-changer that kicks us up a notch.
□ Solid Training and Support
Beyond the management system itself, you want a provider that will back you up and has your interest in mind. No matter how great a system is, it’s useless if your team doesn’t understand how to operate it. Invest in a system and team that focus on making life easier for your agency: personalized training, access to regular refresher courses, and customer service that responds in hours rather than days or weeks. Agency owner Cindi Gresham of Boyle Insurance Agency, Inc. recognizes the value of quality service and support:
Hands down the service (makes the most impact). We definitely got the savings we were looking for, but it’s the service that stands out. As soon as we email the Partner Platform team about something, we get a call back in less than a day – often in just a few hours. And it’s not just for emergencies; it’s anything we need help with, they respond quickly.
□ Regular Technology Updates
As mentioned at the top, your agency management systems shouldn’t be stagnant. You want a system that adapts to the changing market, adding and updating technology to serve you and your customer’s needs better. And, you want those updates to be things you need, not just something your provider came up with out of the blue. Partner Platform user Kevin Butz of Crawford-Butz Insurance values that dynamic innovation in his agency management system experience:
(If a) platform is evolving to meet our needs, why would we go somewhere else? It’s like we get a better system each update. There’s a huge downfall in a system that’s not willing to change. I like to position us with software that’s evolving and people that are innovators. That’s the Partner Platform team.
□ Data Security
As an insurance agency, you have a lot of highly-sensitive information flowing into your management system each day. Gaining and processing data quickly is important, and so is keeping that data safe. Find a system and provider that take steps to keep that data secure, including regular stress tests to ensure they have the highest level of protection for you and your customers. Principal Matt Derrenberger of Ann Arbor Insurance said it best:
As a principal, security is my number one concern. A great system means nothing if you’re data’s not safe.
Check all Your Boxes with the Partner Platform Team
We know this checklist well because we apply it to our Partner Platform system and team daily. Our robust system’s goal is to work for our agencies, making each click go faster and each process move easier.