Client & Prospect Data to Track
We talk a lot about smart data and making your data work for you in our blogs, eBooks, and webinars. That's because your data likely holds the key to your insurance agency's growth by telling you how your agency has performed in the past and areas you can improve.
Data is also helpful for better connecting with your clients and prospects. In this case, the data I'm talking about means any information on your clients and prospects that's important for contacting them, connecting with them, and best serving them.
The “bare bones” of what you should be keeping on your clients and prospects are:
- First name
- Last name
- Phone number
- Email address
Yes, I include email address in the "bare bones" of what you should be collecting. Why? Because email is how many people wish to receive information—72% prefer it, in fact!
Some agents aren't sure how to ask for an email address at the beginning of the relationship. Often, it's as simple as letting them know you'll email them a summary of your conversation or more details of what you discussed in person or on the phone. It's also a field agencies now typically place on their paperwork and their website lead form for clients and prospects to fill out.
More advanced agencies keep even more information on clients and prospects like:
- Preferred method of contact (email, phone, both)
- Contact type (client, prospect, ex-client, ex-prospect, employee, beneficiary, etc.)—you'll update this as they progress with you
- Contact status (quoting, app submitted, enrolled, canceled, etc.)—again, you'll regularly update this
- Lead information (lead date, lead source, etc.)
Next, it's obvious you need all of the information on the policies clients have with you:
- Policy number
- Coverage type
- App submit date
- Effective date
- Renewal date
- Term date
- Servicing agent (& additional agents)
- Account manager (if applicable)
You also want to keep up-to-date, thorough commission information:
Lastly, insurance agencies need to document every contact they have with clients and prospects for E&O and compliance reasons. This means being able to write up notes and attach documents after each contact quickly.
This blog should serve as a guideline for the types of information your agency should be striving to keep up-to-date on your clients and prospects. Why? Because knowledge is power. If your agency maintains clean, thorough data, you can put that data to use.
Agencies who maintain data like this benefit from workflow automation, streamlined commissions processing, enhanced customer service, automated email communication, and an overall better grip on their day-to-day tasks—more on this later.
What else does your agency need to collect and keep up to date on your clients and prospects? You need to ask yourself what kind of relationship you'd like to have with your clients.
You know how your dentist remembers details about your life or something you were discussing six months ago at your last appointment? You probably know by now that they (or someone on their team) documents it once you leave.
They keep it in your record to connect with you on a personal level the next time you visit. And this is precisely what every insurance agency needs to be doing.
It shows that you care enough to keep up with what your clients and prospects are doing in their personal lives; not to mention, especially in the insurance world, this can help you provide the best coverage and services.
With that said, here are a few ideas of the more personal information you could be keeping:
- Birthday (mentioned above as well)
- Wedding anniversary (and spouse's info, of course)
- Children’s names and ages
I think what's most important to be said here for the list above is that you should be taking notes on even the "small talk" or personal things you and your clients/prospects chat about. What are their weekend plans? Do they have a vacation coming up? Did they do anything fun for the most recent holiday?
Then, the next time you chat, you can pick up right where you left off. You'll look competent to your clients, and they'll feel you genuinely value your relationship with them enough to care about their personal lives.
Storing the Data
There's only one constructive, organized way to store a mass amount of data on your clients and prospects, and that's by using software. For life & health insurance agencies, the best option is an industry-specific agency management system (AMS). Why? Because industry-specific AMSs are built for insurance agencies; generic CRMs are made for various industries. An AMS is also often tailored to a specific niche, like how AgencyBloc is explicitly built for life and health agencies.
Another argument for maintaining updated, thorough data is that there are real, costly consequences if you don't. Gartner Research has shown that poor quality data can cost businesses “an average of $15 million per year in losses.” Harvard Business Review describes a “hidden data factory” that tends to emerge in agencies and businesses that use error-prone data practices.
There's so much to be said about maintaining your data in an AMS vs. generic options. To learn more, check out our guide, Running an Organized, Efficient Insurance Agency: Using an agency management system to improve business operations.
An AMS has several other benefits beyond being organized that we touched on before:
Overall, keeping thorough and up-to-date data on all of your clients and prospects helps you serve them to the best of your abilities using all of the above tools and features of an AMS.
Nervous about moving to an AMS because of data migration?
We pointed out in our eBook, The Insurance Agency's Brief Guide to Data Migration, that almost all (85%) companies who engage in a data migration process struggle at some point.
There are 5 areas companies have issues with:
- Lack of collaboration - Collaboration with your team is essential to "clean," organize, and migrate the data. And collaboration with the AMS vendor is necessary to make the transition a smooth one.
- Lack of data standardization or data consistency - "Clean" data is needed for successful migration; companies should look at their current data, how employees are entering data, and create standards to follow in the new system.
- Poor system design - Adequately planning and preparing people for data migration is crucial. You need to think about where everyone will insert notes, comments, or questions throughout the project and see the ongoing status
- Inaccurate information - This is similar to the point made above; you don't want to start a new system with "garbage" data. Inaccurate data comes in many forms: inconsistent data (like we talked about above), outdated data, missing data, etc.
- Poor interpretation of business rules - The people helping you with your data migration (your AMS vendor and your "assigned data migration team" within your agency) must understand your data. It's tough to organize and migrate data you know nothing about in the first place because you can't spot errors or make updates when necessary.
To learn more about each of these and how you can best prepare for data migration, check out our eBook, The Insurance Agency's Brief Guide to Data Migration.
Here's the bottom line of this blog: extremely thorough, consistently updated data will go a long way for your agency. With data like that, you can create efficiencies in your various day-to-day processes, provide better customer service, and, eventually, have a really valuable book of business to pass on or sell.
To see a tour of an industry-specific AMS, watch this 5-minute overview video of AgencyBloc.
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This blog was originally published on 10/5/2017. It was updated and republished on 7/21/2020.