Daniel Talks Agency Technology: Agency Management Systems pt. 3 What Are the Questions You Should be Asking? What are the key pieces of technology for the modern agency? How should you implement them and train your staff to use them? In this series I will look into agency technology and specific systems and how you can implement them at your agency. In the second article in this series, we talked about what questions you should be asking to sort through the systems and find the one that's best for your agency. We're going to continue that in this edition with important questions agents should be keeping in mind and answers from the agents, system providers and others we received feedback from.
We often hear that agents, “pay too much for a system their people can’t even use.” What can agents do to better measure the ROI from their system? Michael Doran, President, SIS/Partner Platform: Two things: The process (data conversion, timing, training, back-ups and general logistics) of successfully moving from current AMS to a new one and differentiating between what is shown on a demonstration of software and what is actually possible. Agents are done a huge disservice when given a “silver bullet” approach to running their business – it doesn’t exist. Changing agency management systems has it’s challenges and if you choose the wrong provider, it’ll will bring your agency to a crawl. Jenna Kleiber, Director of Marketing & Sales for Jenesis Software: Choosing a system that will fit their needs without overwhelming their staff with features they may not use will help with their ROI. If offered different training options, be sure to choose the one that fits your staff's learning styles the best. The training provided with the system is a key part of being able to measure your ROI. Agency owners need to be involved and committed requiring the training to be completed in a timely manner. Brent Sheppard, President, Xanatek, Inc.: It’s important to evaluate the individual needs of an agency – what do I need this system to do for me? How can I get my staff to use the system correctly? There are so many bells and whistles available in systems that may not be used by a small agency, but necessary for larger agencies. Training is important in this aspect too, as in how new staff are trained and supported. How will they learn to use a system if another staff member who doesn’t use it trains them? 14
compiled by Daniel Smith, CAE
To measure ROI, they should not just look at the overall profitability for new business or retention, but consider the technology as a business investment and asset to minimize E&O exposure. Another way to look at this is How much am I paying for the features I will not be using? Can I get the features I need in a system without paying for all the bells and whistles?
With ROI in mind, what do you feel are some of the top ways that the right system can help agencies sell more and operate more efficiently? Rushang Shah, VP of Marketing for Hawksoft: Efficient workflows with a streamlined set of steps or screens allow CSRs and Producers to save time that can be reapplied towards meaningful activities like relationship-building with clients, quarterly check-ins, and community engagement that will help your agency’s brand. The right system will offer insureds the ability to self-service the most important needs 24/7. For example, insureds should be able to generate a Certificate of Insurance for existing cert holders or add new cert holders at midnight — without the need to wait until the morning to speak with the agent. Use automation to alert staff in the agency about the most important things they need to attend to (ie, prioritize the list of tasks by urgent/important). Often, people spend the majority of their time doing things that are urgent but not important. What if the software could help prioritize for you based a series of rules the agency creates? Cam Winterburn, President at NetVu Nashville and Agent at Winterburn & Associates Insurance, LLC: I honestly think most true management systems are dropping the ball on the selling aspect – so I'll skip that. What they are doing is maximizing efficiencies on service. Anything that you can integrate with a system or automate within a system saves time. This allows you to spend more time on building connections, selling, or many other things that can generate revenue for your agency. Shaun McNeil, VP of Sales for EZ Lynx: Use system data to fill in the sales pipeline. If the system is smart, it’ll never let you forget a prospect. Automate repetitive, non-revenue generating tasks, like retention efforts. How much is 1 point of retention worth to the agency? How about 8 points? Focus on The Tennessee Insuror