This month we’ve been discussing how you can identify your agency’s goals and needs in an agency management system (AMS) if you’re considering switching from paper, Excel spreadsheets, or another system. Today, let’s discuss other features, or “wants”, that your agency might be looking ahead to.
Having a wants list is important. Defining your wants separate from your needs helps you determine what you need to have right now to move forward and what you want to have in the future to ultimately reach your goals. It will also help you keep the needs of your clients in mind. If there is a feature or service your clients would like but you can’t offer at this time (like faster response time and personalized communication), consider putting the features that will allow you to do those things in the wants column of your agency’s roadmap. This way, you can work towards it and grow into it. You want to serve your clients and strengthen your relationship with them—a wants list can help with this.
What should you put on the list?
The following are some technological features we think you should consider placing in your wants column. Not only do you want to grow, but you want to stay relevant—at this point, that means becoming more digital. Consider the following, but keep in mind, every agency is different; your agency may not be ready for some of these features yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work towards them!
- Automated Commission Processing. Commission processing is difficult as is, but if your Excel spreadsheets are riddled with unknown errors, your life is just more complicated. Studies have shown that 88% of Excel spreadsheets contain errors due to manual entry. 88%! That means that possibly only 12% of your commissions are completely correct. Not only is that unsettling, but that makes it hard for your agency to track and analyze growth. Agencies that moved from Excel to a commission-based software saw a decrease in errors by over 90%. 90%! That’s a huge difference. Automating your commission processing could allow you to pull the analytics of your commission statements, see where you have growth and don’t. In addition, accurate analysis of commissions can give you a window into which carriers you need to keep an eye on for regularly missed commission payments.
- Email Marketing. Some clients/prospects are impossible to catch on the phone— maybe the best way to reach some of them is through emails. Having a system that is set up for one-time email sends, drip emails, and automated email campaigns could be your saving grace. There’s more you can do besides just email prospects; you can strengthen your current customer relations by sending them tailored emails that would engage them like happy birthday, 65+ changes, renewal date reminders, and policy status changes. Email is a great way to connect with your audience that won’t break the bank; event-triggered marketing could potentially save 80% of your direct-mailer budget. Sending the right email at the right time could save you money, grow your agency, and increase traffic and interest. Not sure about email marketing? Check out our eBook and learn all the metrics you could be tracking and growth you could experience with email campaigns.
- Lead Management. Your agency can’t grow without growing your client-base. Nurturing your leads can help. An AMS can help you automate your lead follow-up by assigning leads to agents as soon as they come in. This way your agents can contact these prospects in a timely manner and have a better chance at converting them to becoming a client. The system can also track the entire relationship between your agent and the prospect by cataloging every contact attempt and conversation. Your agents can be more efficient and effective in their lead follow-up, and with the increase in communication, they could potentially achieve higher lead conversion rates. Not only should you be making it easy for potential clients to contact you (an AMS can help you set up a customizable lead form that you can copy and paste to any place you have a digital presence), but you should also be following up with them quickly and often.
- 7x: Contacting prospects within an hour, you are 7 times more likely to have a meaningful conversation than waiting even one more hour.
- 9x: Following up with prospects within 5 minutes, you are 9 times more likely to convert them
- 80%: Following up often pays off, 80% of sales require 5 follow-ups.
- Mobility. The days of working the traditional 8-5 are in the past since we are all constantly digitally connected. With this comes the challenge for insurance agents to be more flexible and mobile in order to give their clients 24/7 support. Converting your agency to a mobile agency can help your agency stay ahead of the game, improve client relations, and grow your agency. SuperOffice found a 74% increase in customer satisfaction due to faster response times to requests and inquires. As your client happiness increases, so does your referral rate; happy customers are 3 times more likely to refer your agency. Going mobile could be the answer you’re looking for for increased customer satisfaction and referral growth.
- Projection Capabilities. We’ve already mentioned multiple ways your agency can grow, but another way you can is through projecting your commissions. Utilizing this information, you can set goals for your agency and track your growth. This helps you make smarter business and investment decisions. You will be making accurate, informed decisions that could be extremely beneficial for your agency’s health and future.
Your wants list
Your agency is unique, so the items above may or may not be on the horizon for you now, but they may as your agency grows. There are many additional features that could be in the wants column for your agency, it will be different for every single one of you. When forming your wants list, keep in mind where your agency currently is, where it’s headed, and where you would like it to go.
Creating your goals, wants, and needs can be tedious, but your agency will greatly benefit from the time and consideration you put into it. Your clients will definitely appreciate the time and effort you put into improving your agency operations in order to better serve them. It could grow the respect your clients have for your agency, increase their happiness, and boost the likelihood they will refer you to their friends.
Are you hesitant about a change?
Taking on new technology can be scary, but there are ways to make that change easier. Check out our free eBook that will give you tips to handling and managing a technological change in your insurance agency.