Insurance agents today waste a lot of time and energy doing tedious customer service tasks (more time than they’d care to admit).
This needs to change — pronto. Here’s how to help your insurance agents spend less time on customer maintenance and more time making those oh-so-valuable sales.
Implement A Cloud-Based System
Ideally, your agents should spend less time on busy-work and more time on valuable, revenue-driving tasks.
Unfortunately, most brokerages don’t work that way, today. They’re either in-the-stone-ages, using “paper and ink”, or they’re using expensive siloed computer systems that can’t talk to satellite offices or your insurance partners’ home office.
Nothing is streamlined. Nothing is automated. Everything must be done manually.
A cloud-based broker management platform can change the way insurance brokerages operate.
Stay connected wherever you are
For starters, a broker management platform would allow your agents to stay connected and productive when they’re out in the field. Traditional insurance sales is a “trust me” business — agents meet with clients at their home or business.
Back when policies could be written using rate cards and one-page applications, sales could be made pretty easily.
However, since insurers switched to using computer systems (albeit old ones) for processing applications, and since underwriting policies is a tad bit more complex these days, even “paper and ink” businesses need software-based quoting systems.
Using cloud-based platforms allows your agents to look up customer data out in the field so they don’t have to waste time running back to the office to look up client information. They can even run quotes and get the application filled out right then and there on their tablet device.
It’s way more efficient than the old way. Plus, way more convenient.
Goodbye paper piles.
Goodbye waste-of-time “follow-up meetings” so you can collect information you should have had from the first meeting.
Automatic syncing of data
Client moves or relocates? No problem. You can change their contact information once, and it will sync across all offices because everything is connected. Policy updates are automatically synced. All changes and endorsements are updated, usually in real-time. And, forget about Excel spreadsheets. You won’t have to search through pivot tables or fix broken VLOOKUPS after taking on new clients or deleting old ones.
What’s more, managers can easily look up the amount of revenue each client brings in versus how much time the agents spend on that client. If a client is wasting too much of your agents’ time without bringing in adequate revenue, you can adjust your relationship with them accordingly until the numbers do add up.
Integration with 3rd party applications
Another benefit of cloud-based systems is the deep integration they have with third party applications, such as Microsoft Outlook.
One of the most frustrating things about insurance sales is the fact that a missed sale often means 12 months of missed commissions. Not only is it upsetting for the agent, it also costs the brokerage a lot of money.
For example, let’s say a new client wants to buy an auto policy and mentions he’s moving in 6 months so he’s not interested in updating his homeowner’s just yet. Also, his daughter is graduating next year so he’s got to find ways to save money until then.
Right there you have several key pieces of information. Most agents miss everything except the immediate need. They focus on the fact that the client needs an auto policy right now. They might jot down the other stuff, but why worry about that now? Months go by and that scribbling on a post-it note is long gone, never to be seen again.
With a smart digital platform the agent can have the client send him a quick email message with all he mentioned and… voila! The integrated system grabs key pieces of information and shuttles it to a database where it’s stored for later use. And, since it’s a cloud-based system, the agent can access it from his home computer, phone, tablet, or at the office.
After a few months, when the agent has forgotten about the client moving, he gets a gentle reminder that it’s time to reach out to Mr Client and ask about insuring their new home.
Not only is this an easy sale, it’s a sale that feels natural to the customer — instead of the agent being an annoying pest, he or she is a welcomed guest. In fact, the customer will probably love the fact that the agent remembered them and cared enough to call.
Use Online Client Self-Service
Wouldn’t it be great if clients could do most (or maybe even all) of their own policy servicing? Although this is definitely true for most brokerages, you still end up spending a lot of time servicing clients and doing routine manual fill-in-the-blank paperwork.
It’s beyond tedious.
And, your agents think so, too.
Most customers today don’t want to fiddle around with an agent. They want to get into their account, do what they have to do, and get out.
Insurance isn’t on most peoples’ radar and, even when it is, it’s usually seen as a chore.
Making it as easy as possible is good for business and by providing self-service options, you gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Some of the more tech-savvy insurance brokerages, and even insurance companies, are already on top of this. They allow customers and clients to log in, see policy details, make premium payments, change billing and premium modes, and even allow them to make some simple policy changes.
Self-service isn’t just a “cool option”... it’s becoming a competitive requirement. As disintermediation in the industry grows, and as direct-to-consumer options expand, a key component of the distribution channel will be the ability for consumers to control the buying process as well as the back-end servicing.
In an industry where paper and pen is still the standard, cloud-based data-driven platforms and innovative client self-service options can give your agents a much needed break from constantly working on customer maintenance, and free their time up for important revenue driving tasks instead. The urgency of updating systems is more true now than it ever was if you want your brokerage to maintain a competitive advantage.
To stay ahead of the game, contact Novidea and find out how their cloud-based platform may be able to help you.