Do you use Excel spreadsheets?
No matter the size of your agency, organization and management of your book of business is incredibly important. Not only will a well-organized book of business make your life easier, but it will improve your client service and help you identify cross-selling opportunities.
Generally, agencies use one of these three things to manage their book of business: paper files, Excel spreadsheets, or an agency management system (AMS). Though most agencies now use some sort of AMS (90%), there are still many agencies who are relying solely on Excel spreadsheets to organize their data.
Here are 7 reasons you shouldn’t use Excel spreadsheets to manage your client, prospect or agent information:
1. They are error-prone. Did you know that 88% of Excel spreadsheets contain errors? That sounds crazy, but it also isn’t hard to imagine. It’s very easy to accidentally erase or move something in an Excel sheet or to save an old version over a new version. Whether it’s client information or commission data, you definitely want to avoid errors in your data.
Did you know?
88% of Excel spreadsheets contain errors.
2. They are unproductive. Excel spreadsheets are quite limited in how you can organize data, so it’s not always easy to find the information you’re looking for, especially if your spreadsheet is large. When a client calls in with a question, how easily can you pull up their information or their agent’s information so you can service them quickly? Excel also doesn’t allow you to put your data to work for you. They don’t allow you to set reminders for yourself or others based off the data, so you’re either doing that in another system (inconvenient) or you’re not doing it at all (hurting your client retention).
3. They only support mediocre client service. Like we said in the point above, Excel spreadsheets aren’t very supportive of awesome client service. Knowledge is power, and you’re only able to put so much information into a spreadsheet without it being overwhelming. You also aren’t able to easily or cleanly keep a real-time track of your activity and communication with each client which is important for the next conversation you’ll have with them.
4. They can’t easily identify cross-selling opportunities. Identifying cross-selling opportunities in Excel is very manual. You’ll need to search for a certain coverage type and pull all of those records out. Then, you’ll need to look at each individual and his/her policies and manually identify what more you could sell him/her and note that for each. This isn’t easy or efficient. In an AMS like AgencyBloc, you’re able to simply run a report or use an email campaign with cross-selling filters to quickly and easily identify cross-selling opportunities.
5. They can’t process, track, or project commissions very well. Excel simply wasn’t built to handle all of your agency’s commissions needs. Like we said, spreadsheets are error-prone, so that doesn’t help when trying to pay your agents accurately. Not to mention, you aren’t able to easily identify where you might be missing payments from carriers. There are several reasons a spreadsheet won’t meet your commissions needs—here’s a blog we wrote about it.
6. They don’t facilitate much team collaboration. Whether you’re a 2-person agency or a large agency, communication between coworkers and agents is important. Without a way to attach important documents, assign activities or add notes, spreadsheets don’t lend themselves to much team collaboration. You can add comments in Excel spreadsheets, but they’re sometimes hard to find and can make the spreadsheet a bit confusing.
7. They require manual backup. Paper files and Excel spreadsheets are not disaster or accident-friendly. In the case of a natural disaster or an instance where you simply lose files, you may not be able to retain your data if it’s stored in a spreadsheet. You’d have to get in the habit of manually backing up your spreadsheet on a different computer or USB in a separate location than your office to avoid completely losing your files. With a cloud-based AMS like AgencyBloc, your data is backed up every several seconds in several different locations, so you’re always able to obtain your data in the event of a natural disaster. And, you can scan in papers that pertain to an individual or policy so that you never lose important documents.
Though Excel is a powerful tool with many uses, managing your book of business isn’t one of them. An insurance agency has many moving parts with data that is constantly updated, and it’s best to organize that information in an insurance-specific AMS like AgencyBloc.
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