For many independent agents, considering technology solutions can be confusing and, at times, overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be that way. Despite the range of available options, there’s a simple way to determine what will work best for you.
Keep it Simple
First, you need to map your processes. Remember, there’s a technology solution for just about everything. The secret is understanding how your agency works, finding where bottlenecks occur and identifying what repetitive tasks could free your producers to bring in more business. By understanding how you work, and how you can work better, you can make investments in technology that drive efficiency and help set you up for scalable growth.
Where to Focus
Agencies of the future will successfully address four key areas where technology is concerned: marketing, operations, service, and sales.
- Marketing: Agents will need to incorporate social media, a responsive website design and communications outreach into their digital marketing tool kits. Understanding what tools are available, knowing how others use them and making a plan for their use will be vital to new business development.
- Operations: A solid customer relationship management (CRM) system can check many critical boxes. This includes tracking customer communications, renewal deadlines, providing collaboration within the agency, and cross-selling. A thoughtful review of available tools in this area is a must. But buyer beware! Don’t invest based on potential. You have to invest based on how your agency operates and how your existing and contemplated systems will integrate with your CRM. This also means ensuring agency staff utilizes the CRM system. Adopting new technologies your agents or customers won’t use is simply a waste of money.
- Service: While good technology can prove invaluable, there’s no substitute for outstanding customer service. Look for tech tools to enhance your agency’s focus on best-in-class customer service, but don’t rely on a CRM to do the job alone. Skill building with agents on things like email etiquette, being responsive, using simple language, and matching customers with the right insurance products shouldn’t be overlooked. Revisiting these basics will help ensure best-in-class service is your standard operating procedure. That being said, any degree to which you can utilize technology in delivering great customer service, means more time can be spent on sales that generate revenue.
- Sales: Reliable sales are based on good data. Any agency management system that helps customers tell you what they need will provide leads. Predictive analytics based on customer data, records of recent communications, mobile apps, and even simple website forms for customers to request quotes are all technology tools to help keep the sales funnel full.
How to Get Started
There’s plenty to consider where technology adoption is concerned. Start by asking peers you trust what they use and like. Industry associations, technology conferences and even vendor demos are all good roads to take to figure out your technology needs. Keep your destination in mind as you choose and implement various technologies – it’s critical that your investment in technology provides a return.