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Convenience Trumps Price – How Convenient Is Your Insurance Agency?

You hear it all the time when you ask how someone is.  “I’m so busy!” Those of you who know me know that I HATE the word busy. It’s the worst!  You can yell and swear at me and it’s still not as offensive as the word  “busy”. However, what everyone is trying to say is none of us have enough time and when we are being productive small wrinkles of inconvenience can cause us mass frustration. This blog has less to do with how you feel about many convenience services and more to do with the end consumer.

Far too often we place our personal opinions over the preference of the client. Because we wouldn’t do it no one else on the planet would…. this is absolutely FALSE!

Let’s talk about how convenience has taken over America:

  • When is the last time you ordered on Amazon? They got the post office to deliver on SUNDAYS
  • I subscribe to Stichfix.com.  Try it.  Great high quality clothes arrive each month so I look  fresh and I don’t have to shop
  • Peapod.  I love grocery shopping … said no one ever.  Now you can order online and have them delivered
  • House cleaners.  For some not having a house cleaner can be grounds for divorce.  First of all, I’m not the best cleaner and secondly, who wants to spend 4 hours on a weekend doing it?  Not I!
  • My husband  gets a box every month with a tie, socks and more to replenish his stock!
  • Roomba –  my Alexa turns on my Roomba to pick up dog hair in between the house cleaner’s visit
  • And yes, I would be the person that tries a driverless car!

This is just me BUT let’s be honest.  If we can save time, effort and energy who isn’t all in?

In insurance we need to get away from “Combine and Save” and move towards “Combine & Simplify”!

But all of this only works when your agency is convenient to work with. All too often we see convenience built in for the agency staff not the consumer. Without the consumer we have no staff. So take a look at our top convenience strategies you need to embrace.

First Call Resolution:

Is there anything worse than phone tag? We call, they call, we call and they call.  And around the merry round goes.  So why don’t we focus on solving people’s problems on the first call? This is where I hear “But Kelly…. ”  Here are things we can resolve on the first call:

  • Claims: Warm transfer them with you on the line to the company
  • Auto ID Card: Should be in their inbox by the time they hang up
  • Remarket: If the person is willing, you can requote them on the phone.  All the info is in the system for personal lines
  • Endorsements: If you are processing it do it on the call.  If you are not, take it and pass it
  • Billing: Take the payment and go
  • Account Round Quote: We know we are going to try to stay with the current company so why can’t we quote on the phone?
  • New Business Quote: So, when you have someone on the hook in personal lines and some small commercial we can and we should quote on the phone! You can do it.  If the consumer is having an enjoyable experience won’t mind at all.

Bottom line – when you can, wrap everything up on the call and leave no strings hanging!

Documentation…. Yasss Please!

So much time is wasted on the lack of documentation.

Writing it in your notebook does absolutely NO GOOD.

If you are at lunch or win the lottery,  literally no one can help the customer and now that  person has to repeat themselves. Let’s talk about how that makes us all look – which is silly!

So, when we are talking about convenience and time management no one can help you if you don’t help yourself.

Here is our convenience documentation strategy:

  • Act like American Express, one of the well documented luxury brands.  Before they hang up, your call is documented. So why can’t we do the same in insurance?  Document and suspense if necessary
  • At the end of the call you thank each person for their loyalty and then recap exactly what you will do and when.  While  you are doing this, type your notes/suspense in the system.
  • Ask them if there is anything else you can do for them. Now when you hang up that call you are 100% all set.  Either it’s set as a suspense or it’s done.

Service Centers, VA’s and Processing

Your agency invests in tools to lighten your load and you won’t use them?

Because your customer in the “small town” wants to deal with you. Yes a portion do but not all may feel that way.

Many people will not care as long as their request gets completed in their time-frame.

So when a service center is brought in keep an open mind.  It may be the home run you are looking for!

If your agency gets a Virtual Assistant, stop and take a breath. There is not a line of people coming in that want to take the processing work off your plate. Start by not calling them VA’s and use their name.  They are real people who are just in a different country.

And if we really step back, many agencies have support people right there next to them. But we hoard the work rather than sending it to the most qualified person.

All of these tools are to free you up to work faster and spend MORE time with your clients.

Technology

As I write this blog I am at an agency where some team members are rejecting E-Sign and multiple monitors. Trust me, one taste from the forbidden apple and you will be hooked.

E Sign: This is a gift to the insurance world. Now the customer doesn’t have to print, sign, scan, and send. Now put your insurance brain on. How much opportunity is there for a data hijack? Too much. E-Sign is secure and fast.

New Technology: Your management systems will develop new technology to survive. They will include text messaging, workflows and more. Embrace them, don’t reject them. Your clients will thank you.

Don’t Close at Lunch Or Make Them Come To You

Still to this day we run into the closed at lunch agency. That’s super inconvenient. You need to be open when your customer wants you to be, and that may be the weekend and evening! I’m not saying that’s the only answer but we should be creative.  When do our customers need us and when can we serve them at their convenience?

Every now and then we run into the agency who says they must come to us. We must see them in order to sell insurance. In what busy soccer mom’s world who that be a possibility? They would rather be with their family than with you!

The Start of the Conversation

This is only the start of the conversation.  There are so many more small details that we can use to become more efficient with clients!

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