Over the years, I’ve engaged with thousands of independent insurance agents and brokers. Today, my work centers on enhanced technology and workflows. It sounds dry, but nothing could be further from the truth, particularly in terms of improved workplace dynamics. In my work, I’ve seen real-time and download contribute to making agencies better places to work.
Real time is the ability to, with a click or two of the mouse, work directly in an agency system to perform a personal or commercial lines inquiry or service transaction, or even multiple-company quoting and policy issuance. With some real-time transactions, the carrier returns the needed quote or service information directly into the agency system. In others, the real-time tool takes users from the agency system to the exact place in the carrier system where the information is found or the transaction must be completed.
Download is the automated return of policy-level or claims information from a carrier system right into the agency’s. The process synchronizes client policy data between the two, and puts accurate, current information at the employee’s fingertips.
I’m excited to see these workflows contribute to better work environments. Employees enjoy their jobs more, since they no longer have to spend all day performing mindless, redundant data-entry tasks. Not only are employees freed from mundane tasks, they can spend that found time — an hour or more a day, surveys show — doing what they like: helping customers. Less time spent on processing means more time for relationship building, understanding customer needs, solving problems and suggesting appropriate additional personal or business protection. This makes for happier employees.
Some agencies complement this refocus, where employees process less and cross-sell more, with compensation changes. Service pros can make a little more money by devoting recouped time to revenue-generating tasks. As we all know, a little more money often translates into greater job satisfaction.
This cross-selling generates more policies per customer, which boosts revenue and retention. Agencies and brokerages that sell more and retain customers better are more stable and offer considerably greater job security — another reason a place is good to work.
Of course, stable, profitable organizations are better equipped to respond to community needs; plus, time freed up using real-time and download lets employees engage more in community service projects — another hallmark of great workplaces.
As employees use enhanced workflows and technologies, they find other satisfaction, too. With information readily available, they can provide answers on the spot when customers call. Rarely do they not have an answer; instead, they can offer accurate information and meet customer needs right away.
This reflects well on the agency and employee. Customers realize they’re not working with a dinosaur, but rather a forward-thinking organization that offers the same instant response they’ve come to expect in other business dealings. Employees take pride, knowing that real-time technologies used in their personal lives are also part of their workplace.
Because advanced technologies often allow information access from anywhere, agencies become more flexible and employees can respond to customer needs from anywhere. The more connected the agency or brokerage, the more options exist for employees to work from home or respond to client needs while traveling.
Employees find job satisfaction working for organizations using the latest workflows and technologies and take pride in knowing they work for a forward-thinking firm. They take pleasure in their ability to grow by spending saved time on more important tasks.
The good news: Agents, brokers, vendors, carriers and others are working hard to make real-time and download even more efficient. That bodes well for ongoing and increased satisfaction for employees, principals and customers alike.
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