Like many insurance agencies, you can probably better utilize your existing technology and add more productive technology. You likely have an agency management system, a phone system, and a website. Are you using utilizing all features? Can you use addition apps and tools to help service your book so your existing staffing can spend more time cross and up selling?
Many agency websites give visitors a history of the agency, claims about exceptional customer service, descriptions of types of insurance, a list of the agency’s carriers, and a contact form. A typical phone system enables a receptionist to answer calls and transfer them to the appropriate people.
These features are not enough to make your agency stand out and use your resources efficiently. An agency’s mobile-friendly website or mobile application, if it has one, can provide many features to make its clients’ lives easier and encourage purchases. An automated phone system can help provide seamless service to callers and make client management easier.
Here are things a good agency website should include:
After hours contacts.
People don’t necessarily suffer losses between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday. Your website or app should give them phone numbers to call outside those times, including carrier service centers and the agency’s answering service, if it has one. Better yet, configure the app so that the client can dial a number just by tapping it.
Links to your carriers.
Have a page dedicated to listings and hyperlinking their carrier’s claims reporting page.
Some agency management systems enable agencies to integrate customer portals into their websites. EZLynx offers Client Center, which allows agencies of all sizes to give clients constant access to policy documents and I.D. cards. Vijay Rengarajan, product manager for Client Center, stresses that it doesn’t replace human interaction. “The goal is to give agents time for those kinds of things only they can do,” such as advising clients on coverages.
One benefit of self-service tools like Client Center, Rengarajan says, is that they present opportunities to sell more coverage to existing clients. “The insureds already have insurance on their mind” when they visit, he explains, making it a good time to expose them to other types of insurance.
Resources to answer questions.
Ryan Hanley, an agent in upstate New York, described in his book Content Warfare how he created a YouTube video series “100 Insurance Questions in 100 Days” and embedded them on his agency’s website. Other agencies publish regular blog posts on insurance topics. Hanley wrote that answering questions is the most effective form of online content marketing.
Some agencies have implemented chatbots from providers such as Leadsurance. Chatbots are software that “converses” with a visitor to the website and retrieves the information they want. They can answer simple questions and free up your staff for more in-depth client conversations.
Your office phone system may also have capabilities you’re not using. Call routing automatically forwards a call to service centers, claims departments and other destinations, reducing caller hold times and frustration. An automated voice menu system can help direct calls to the right destination. Systems like Omega allow you to send and receive text messages from a central phone number so client messages will not be missed. Intulse integrates with customer relationship management software such as Salesforce and transcribes voicemails to emails, making it easy to document conversations. Bridge, a system designed for insurance agencies, offers these features and many others to make errors and omissions loss prevention easier.
If an agency is brand new to self-service, Rengarajan recommends starting anywhere but doing it today. “Start simple – drive the traffic to the self-service product and see the benefits.”
Every agency brags about its service, but those that use technology wisely will differentiate themselves. They will reduce time spent on mundane questions and tasks and spend more time helping clients make wise insurance decisions. While this article did not cover all possibilities, it’s best to visit your existing technology to better understand their latest capabilities and investigate new technologies that will help you service your book more efficiently.