If you are like me, most of your working time is spent just trying to get the work done, without much thought to how the work can be done more efficiently. In this increasingly complex technological society, it pays to take time out to review your agency’s work processes and find out if there are software programs, apps, or other technological fixes that could improve those processes. I recently came across a blog post by Ben Page, an insurance agency owner, that talked about 10 relatively well known technologies that can be used to improve an agency’s operating efficiency or reduce its operating costs.
Some of Mr. Page’s suggestions seem obvious after you stop to think about them (e.g., e-signature services that allow for documents to be signed electronically and webcams that can be used for virtual meetings with customers and co-workers and when combined with an online meeting service the meetings can be conducted from anywhere in the world). Others were more surprising (e.g., the use of dual monitors can increase productivity anywhere from 10 to 20 percent for employees who have to work in multiple programs simultaneously and online personality profile tests that have been customized for the insurance industry to assist in the hiring process).
Two of Mr. Page’s suggestions, switching to VoIP telephone service and Google Apps, were mentioned in a previous blog post as great tools to make your agency more local and more mobile. VOIP telephone service can simplify communications among your different offices and provide your customers with one telephone number that will work for all the offices. Mr Page also points out that such a telephone system can automatically record and store all the calls made on it, which can be useful from an E&O and training perspective. Google Apps can help streamline your agency’s operations by putting information and documents on the “cloud” and thus, allowing access to the same information and documents by your employees no matter where they may be located.
Another way to provide access by all an agency’s employees to the same documents and information is to create an office intranet, which is essentially a website that is accessible only by the employees. Like any website, you can put whatever information, documents, and programs you may want on it for your employees to use. Mr. Page found it especially useful to keep his agency’s processes and procedures manuals up to date by allowing for change to them when necessary, which change was then instantly available to all his agency’s employees .
His number one technology fix was an improved sales management system, but he had no specific program to recommend. Only what such a system should be capable of doing. Click here to read what Mr. Page had to say about that subject, as well as his other technology suggestions.