In my last blog post, I discussed the need for insurance agents to focus on doing things that educate their customers and potential customers about the benefits of having a particular insurance coverage. By doing so, an agent can come to be seen as a resource for them, instead of someone who is just trying to sell them something. However, such an approach takes time and thus, requires an agent and by extension his or her agency to be as efficient as possible in performing their other tasks, so they will have the time it takes to successfully implement this approach.
The natural inclination for agents and agencies who are looking to become more efficient in their work is to look to technology. I wrote a blog post over two years ago about some apps and other technology solutions that can improve efficiency for agents and agencies. But the IIABA’s 2014 Future One Agency Universe Study found that 66% of the agents surveyed were disappointed in the increases in efficiency obtained by the use of technology.
A recent article in the IA newsletter explains how to approach the implementation of technology in an agency so that it is likely to get the greatest benefit from the technology. The author advises agencies to “start simple” by defining the problem to be solved (the “pain point”) and then researching the technologies available to address that problem. If the problem is lack of productivity, Applied has created an e-book that provides productivity standards for each agency function and suggests ways to meet those standards using technology. If an agency is looking for a way to better organize its customer prospecting efforts, interactive prospecting management systems offer a solution (click here for a post about them).
Before making the decision to buy one of those technologies, agency owners need to make sure they are committed to taking the time that it will require to fully implement the chosen technology and then be willing to do what it takes to get buy-in from their employees on the use of the new technology. Without such buy-in, it is unlikely that the new technology will be used for the greatest benefit, if it is used at all. Such buy-in can only be obtained if the employees are shown and understand how the proper use of that technology will make their jobs easier. Consulting with employees about the problems they face and what would help them do their jobs more efficiently before a decision is made on what technology to implement is one sure way to help achieve the needed buy-in, as they will better understand why the new technology is being obtained.
When carefully thought through and then fully implemented, technology has the ability to make an agency’s employees much more efficient in the performance of their duties, thereby giving them more time to become a resource for the agency’s customers and potential customers.