The COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 left a lasting impact on the world, including how we do business. Quarantine and frequent lockdowns forced us to stay home, and the changes in customer expectations, work environments, and operations remain today.
Insurance agencies that weathered these changes have a few things in common. For one, they had the right insurance software to make the quick transition to remote work and service. Secondly, they have an enduring attitude of being open to change and a readiness to adapt. While we cannot predict what will disrupt the market next, we can use these markers to prepare with the right mindset, tools, and systems for the next unexpected interruption.
1. Adapting Your Systems
It’s impossible to overemphasize the need for an agency-wide digital insurance experience. That includes leveraging digital marketing through areas like social media, email marketing, and your website. In addition, include digital access options for both your customers and your staff. Offer eSignatures for document signing, employ digital form fills, digital document storing, and digital payments. These systems are essential for the modern agency to stay relevant to clients, increase ease of doing business, and continue growth.
Another system to embrace is remote work. Remote work was essential during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and it remains valuable today. Many employees expect remote working options, and experience shows remote work can be just as, or more, effective as in-office work.
2. Leveraging the Right Tools
Many new insurance software tools became standard during the 2020 lockdowns. One type was virtual communication tools like online meeting platforms, chats, and online customer service portals. Customers expect to be able to get in touch with you via one or all of these methods. Alongside these digital communication tools, pay attention to your internet connections. Ensure you have reliable, high-speed service to keep connected at all times.
Besides communication tools, your agency also needs marketing automation and a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to better track and engage with customers and prospects. Marketing automation directly feeds new customer expectations with frequent and personalized messaging. A CRM gives you a better picture of who your customers are and how you can grow your book of business. Both these tools are now standard in the insurance software space.
3. Getting in a Growth Mindset
One of the biggest hurdles is shaping a new agency mindset. Adapting to change isn’t easy, but if you can set up a “change happens and creates opportunities” attitude, you can make it that much easier to move to something new. Work with your team to keep them open to change, including getting them involved in decisions around adding new tech and systems to your agency. The more your staff feels a part of the “something new,” the more likely they will participate in it.
Another great way to keep your team ready for change is to provide learning opportunities throughout the year. Expose them to changes in the industry and educate them, so they feel more comfortable with new technology or operation styles.
4. Working with Partners that Support Your Growth
As you expand your insurance software and systems, pay attention to who you’re partnering with in your systems and tech. Select providers and partners who embody the same growth-focused attitude and offer enhancements or updates with their technology.
Our team at SIS has always focused on how we can improve and adapt to serve our independent agency clients better. When the lockdowns took hold in 2020, we sprang into action to keep our Partner Platform agencies well equipped. Elements like cloud-based systems, modern platform updates, and adaptable communication tools made the unexpected transition smoother.
Find out more about how we challenge the status quo, adapting with and for our Partner Platform agencies to ready them for whatever comes next. Get in touch at [email protected] or 800.747.7005, Option 6, to view a demo and talk with one of our team today.