Earlier this year we held our first-ever virtual Applied Net and it was nothing short of Epic (pun intended). As our largest Applied Net yet, over 12,000 insurance pros joined us! Eight days of thought-provoking content and virtual networking armed attendees with valuable insights, tools and techniques needed to succeed on their Digital Path Forward.
As 2020 comes to a close and you begin to think about changes you will make to your business in the new year, we thought it would be helpful to hear how some of your fellow agents transformed their businesses this year. So, we’re giving you access to of one of our popular sessions from Applied Net 2020, Agency Roundtable: Preparing for Your Digital Path Forward.
In this session, Nathan Waite, VP of Sales at Applied, chats with a panel of agency owners on how they started their digital path forward, results they've seen so far, and how they see their technology strategies evolving in the new year. The panel includes Paul Schneider with Schneider and Associates Insurance, Mark Brooks with Dickie McKay Insurance, and Graham Demont with Demont Insurance. Let’s jump in.
Nathan Waite: What were some of the steps you took to prepare your agency for the move to a new technology platform?
Paul Schneider: Before we moved to Applied Epic, one of the first things we did was make sure our files were clean so that when we transitioned to a new system all our data was accurate. We also made sure that everyone was on board. Before introducing the new system, we asked employees for their pain points so they felt like they were part of the decision-making process. I think that was instrumental in helping us achieve a smooth transition. We also made sure our staff were ready for the training and all of the learning they were going to have to do in the new software.
Nathan Waite: Can you share some of the results you’ve seen since implementing Applied technology?
Graham Demont: I’ve been able to track sales and activities much better. Our team leads can now see what everybody is working on, whereas with our previous system, they weren’t able to do that. It’s really helped us become more efficient. You can customize Applied Epic for your agency’s needs, which has been huge for us.
Paul Schneider: I love the way the system is set up so that you can do business the way that the customer wants to do business. We have some customers who prefer text messages, some who prefer email, and even some who still want a printed letter. Applied Epic allows us to do all of these and even identify a customer’s preferred method of contact. Also, our previous software was web-based so every time you clicked on something, you would have to wait if your internet was running a little slow. We no longer have this issue with Applied Epic and have seen an increase in efficiency per employee. That's been one of our biggest takeaways from the transition is how much more productive we are on a daily basis.
Nathan Waite: How have you leveraged technology to help support adjustments you've had to make for your staff due to COVID-19?
Graham Demont: We were pretty seamless in our transition from the office to remote thanks to Applied Epic. I haven't heard a complaint from any clients that they've seen a downturn in our service. Fortunately, Applied Epic’s integrations with all of our other systems has been great and allowed us to work remotely with no problems.
Nathan Waite: What are some of the things that you're looking at implementing in the next year or so that you think are going to help you take another step on your digital path forward?
Graham Demont: We got Indio a couple months ago and haven't fully implemented it yet. Next year though, we're going to start using it 100% for new business clients. It’s really going to help us streamline the renewal process.
Paul Schneider: We’ve been trying to figure out how we can get in front of our clients more frequently. We want to touch base with them at least seven or eight times per year. I'm tired of our clients saying, “hey you’re Progressive or you’re Travelers.” I want them to start saying, “hey you're Schneider and Associates” and understand that we are their representative no matter which carrier they decided to go with. So, I think a marketing tool is going to be our next big thing.
Mark Brooks: For us, we’re at the end of our implementation process for Applied Epic so I really want to work on getting analytics refined. We’ve been using analytics a little from a retention standpoint, which has been helpful, but I want to hone in on more insights the system can provide.
Nathan Waite: What advice do you have for other agencies that might be in a similar spot and are considering a change in their partner or their technology platforms?
Graham Demont: I think they should do it, no question. No regret on my end on switching to Applied Epic from another agency management system. Applied Epic seems to be the best in the industry as evidenced by the number of agencies that are using it.
Mark Brooks: I agree with Graham. And from a new hire standpoint, they pick up on the system quickly. Applied Epic is just a system that's made to make things easy.
Paul Schneider: Dad's famous statement in the office is, “if you keep on doing what you're doing, you're going to keep getting what you get.” The reason we went to Applied Epic is because we wanted to grow. We didn't want to just do P&C. We wanted to do Benefits too and this is the only system where you can do it all. So, even if there's upfront costs, it's still a no brainer. If you want to grow, if you want to be successful, this is the path.
For more insights from your peers, watch the full Agency Roundtable: Our Digital Path Forward webinar. This webinar is included in our three-part webinar series so by registering for it, you’ll also get access to The Flawless Execution of a Sale and Digitizing the Commercial Lines Application Process – score!