“What Productivity Software Do You Use?”
Last week I was on the phone with one of my agent buddies and the talk turned to productivity software in our insurance agencies. My friend asked me what tasking system we were using and I was explaining how we used two different tasking systems to manage our daily tasks: one that came with our Agency Management System and one that came with our Office 365 subscription. My friend said they were only using the tasking within their Agency Management System and to my question on how they got along with it, he answered that the software doesn’t do everything they need it to, but they manage somehow.
I suggested he should try the Office 365 subscription, as it came as a part of a larger, reasonably priced software package. The answer really came as no surprise: “No way! I’m done paying for more software. We use the Agency Management System and whatever doesn’t happen with that – doesn’t happen at all!”.
The conversation drifted from there until we hung up, but it got me to thinking of how many other people are running a “monolithic” office?
A Monolithic Office
The “monolith” I’m visually thinking of is the one from the beginning of “A 2001 Space Odyssey”. You know, the one that the primitive humans are staring at and doing a monkey dance around. Monolith or monolithic equals “characterized by often rigidly fixed uniformity” and this is exactly what my friend was creating – a rigid, uniform and an inefficient workplace by rejecting other programs to help his workers operate at their peak efficiency.
Look, no software has the corner on perfection, and if you limit yourself to the possibilities of using other programs to help your office staff to complete their jobs, you are severely limiting their efficiency and the overall production of your office.
My office uses an Agency Management System, and while I like it, it has some real flaws, from a weak mail client (no spell check – are you kidding me?) to an electronic signature program with limited features. This particular productivity software has…well, it has issues. But on the whole, the sum of its parts outweighs its shortcomings.
While I do use the Agency Management System, I don’t deprive my office of the ability to have a full-featured mail client, a separate tasking system as well as a shared calendar and appointment system. In addition, we have other programs that allow our employees’ ability to manage documents, electronic signatures, a voice over the Internet system, a malware program, a password program, and a scanning system. It’s only with this suite of software products that my employees can manage the office environment of a modern insurance office and I can tell you that I’m always on the hunt for more.
Efficiency Through New Technologies
I understand my friends’ feelings, I also pay a substantial amount for my Agency Management System and when I look at the total for (productivity) software expense every year I cringe for a second, but then I realize that while my agency sells insurance we are a technology business at heart. Yes, we provide customer service along with insurance expertise to our customers, but if we aren’t able to do it in the most efficient manner possible we’ll be replaced by someone who does.
You can talk about this and that trend in insurance, but if you don’t understand that technology and your ability to relate to your customers in the most efficient manner isn’t the main issue, then you’re missing the train that’s coming at you.
Look At Your Processes. Are You Really Doing The Best You Can In Each?
Here are five areas other than your Agency Management/CRM System that I believe you cannot overlook and the issues around each.
1. Your mail client
a. Is it integrated into the rest of your office systems?
b. Is it user-friendly to your people?
c. Is it compliant with new rules? (HIPPA anyone?)
2. Your Phone System
a. Is it connected to your mail client?
b. Do you still pay for long distance?
c. Can you record phone calls?
d. How easy is it to access the log from your phone files?
3. Your Password System
a. Is it electronic or are people still keeping them on post-it notes?
b. Do you have a shared system for office-wide passwords?
c. How secure is it?
4. Do you have a professional version PDF editor?
a. Does it allow editing of PDF” s?
b. Can you create PDF’s?
c. Does it allow digital signatures to be added?
5. Your business submission system
a. Are you using a comparative rater for Home and Auto products? Is this relevant?
b. If you sell commercial products are you still filling out application forms one at a time? Do you track your submissions?
c. Are you comparative rating your Life products?
d. Are you contacting your clients once you quote them?
Today’s insurance office, if it’s to be a competitive one, has to balance all the demands of today’s insurance consumer, while leveraging relevant and diverse productivity software available to allow its agents and CSR’s to efficiently handle servicing demands.
Visit QwikSubmit to see how we can help you and your team be more productive.