The Connected Business of Insurance
January 29, 2013
Two years ago, our agency president asked me, “What exactly does a customer-centric agency look like?”
Good question…really good question. My response? “I’ll get back to you on that.”
At the time, we were in the middle of merging two agencies with multiple software systems into one. We were refocusing and redirecting two different entities with two different systems, structures and cultures into one integrated and successful team. It was a major task.
As I thought about the question more, I realized that being a customer-focused agency was already a driving force we all believed in here – putting the customer first at every occasion. It was critical in our re-organization efforts to not just merge the agencies but to reorient the organization as well. We went from 10 departments to four collaborative teams that are organized not by what we sell, but by who we sell to.
To complement our reorganization, we needed the right kind of technology to support the effort. When you look at how the industry is evolving, independent agencies will be able to compete in this new market, this new economy, if they have technology that allows them to be flexible and to adapt to changing conditions. In other words, we have to be agile. If the market is forcing our agency to be more creative with our business model, we need technology that is going to support our creativity. We need the right tools that will be able to make the turns as we need it. We can’t afford to be forced into a traditional business structure because of the limitations of our agency management software.
A flexible, technologically advanced agency management system was the tool we needed. Instead of having to organize everything we do around the software, we can customize the management system to fit the way we do business. That gives us the flexibility we need to be responsive to our customers.
The software’s ability to document as the staff works has measurably cut our processing time. Our activity usage is half of what it was prior. By taking advantage of the system’s flexible setup, we’ve simplified and streamlined our workflows. The software automatically prompts for the documentation needed, when it makes the most sense to enter it. If users don’t need the information, they never even get the prompt. In essence, we have programmed our process manual into the agency management system. Our workflows require minimal training and we get a monthly audit process that has been shortened greatly.
We feel as though we have a system that works for us, not vice versa. We can begin to transition to a proactive, engaged and customer-centric sales organization.
Technology strengthens a human connection when it’s used properly. We know our customers better and serve them the ways they want and need.
How are you keeping your agency agile in a competitive market? Have a question for Jackie? Join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comment section below.