IMPLEMENTING AI AT YOUR AGENCY
Four simple solutions that will have a huge impact for your firm
By Todd Sorrel
We admit it: At ePayPolicy, we’re huge fans of insurtech. We believe in the power of technology to make insurance agencies more efficient, more effective and ultimately more successful.
It’s likely that you are already using an agency management system. That is a huge first step. But what else could you be doing right now to harness available technology to create an amazing experience for your clients? What will not be a big drain on agency staff and budget resources, but will pay big dividends and will have your clients thanking you again and again?
We’ve got a few ideas to share. And they all hinge on “AI.”
What do we mean by AI? Don’t worry. We do not mean “artificial intelligence” in the futuristic sense. We refuse to believe that successful agents could ever be replaced by robots. When we talk about “AI” we mean “agent intelligence.” Supercharged agent intelligence is entirely within your reach right now. This kind of AI is driven by technology, much of which is readily available and easy to deploy.
We believe there are four areas across your organization that could benefit significantly from implementation of a few insurtech AI solutions. Each could easily command its own article—or perhaps several. But my goal here is to give you a quick introduction to these easy-access, affordable options that can be implemented in just a few days and can have a remarkable effect on your agency.
Try one AI tech solution or try them all. … We support all progress toward becoming a more tech-driven agency. As we are fond of saying: Automate to dominate!
Enhanced target marketing and social media. The saying “content is king” has never been truer. As legendary business guru Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, “If you’re not creating content, you’re becoming irrelevant.” Fortunately, there are tech tools to help you get the right messages in front of the right prospect and client. Specifically, you can engage both social media and email to deliver custom-targeted content.
Build out marketing lists and groups and provide each group with information they will perceive as personally valuable. Think about each group’s needs and interests, and tailor alerts and tips by audience segment. Note: Your content should not always be insurance related. For example, send boating tips to people with boat insurance or compile holiday-related safety tips for home owners. As soon as the 2020 vehicle models are released, share the top-rated picks with the appropriate recipients. You get the idea.
With Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you can create some amazing content and micro-target who sees your posts. Social media marketing is a sophisticated, data-driven power-house, and by using management platforms like Sprout Social and Hootsuite you can quickly insert social media into your agency marketing strategy.
Email automation and branding are another way to match your message to your target market. There’s fascinating science as well as technology behind effective email campaigns. You can even split-test specific elements of each message and measure the effect onopen rates and response rates. Industry leaders like HubSpot and Mailchimp are experts at automating and managing the entire process for you.
These kinds of targeting approaches are strategic vs. shotgun. If you’ve been sending your content out into cyberspace and hoping someone will bite, try these AI methods instead. Be smart. Leverage target marketing via social media and email technology. Focused content yields bigger impact.
Customer service and chatbots. People have questions about insurance. Sometimes they have lots of questions. Or lots of people ask the same question. While every question deserves an answer, that does not mean that you or your busy staff should be on the hook to respond to each one. Your time is too valuable to spend researching the same boring facts and figures 20 times a day. You also don’t want to frustrate prospects or clients by putting them on hold, even if you do have helpful insurance tips or pleasant music to entertain them. You also don’t need the stress of racing to track down rates or claims info under pressure.
The preferred AI solution in this case is having callers interact with friendly, helpful chatbots. Chatbots (instructed machines) are especially useful when queries are simple and repetitive. Sound familiar? No doubt it does. Industries from retail to healthcare to utilities have been using chatbots for years. So what are you waiting for? Press 1 for “no good reason.” Press 2 for “I’m researching chatbot options right now.”
Internal communication and operations. Few things waste more time than searching through an email stream for that one where Joe said, “Jason’s doing X, so now Carly’s in charge of Y,” or the one in which Sarah shared that brilliant competitive secret. Was that last Tuesday … or last month? Did I file it … or is it still in my inbox on page 11 of 28?
You and your staff can waste hours each week tracking down information you need but can’t quite put your fingers on. Luckily, we know a brilliant way to make communication a breeze. Simple and intuitive platforms like Slack, Trello, and Asana let you share and store files or request and provide instant feedback among multiple sources. You can even set up different groups for subject-specific sharing (see the first item above, which also suggests setting up subject-specific groups and lists). This solution will increase the AI of your entire team. Having everything right there, neatly organized and accessible, boosts productivity across the board.
Payment processing and data security. It’s moment-of-truth time: How often do you pay for anything by check anymore? Don’t you reach for a credit or debit card instead? Or maybe you set up automatic payments from your bank account? We know that insurance has traditionally been a paper-driven business. And that includes checks. Yet, just like you, today’s clients pay for all kinds of goods and services electronically via card or ACH. Why not their insurance?
When it comes to collecting payments, the smart (a.k.a. AI) solution is a win for both you and your clients. It’s more convenient for them, while saving you from chasing down receivables or waiting for checks to clear. And it’s even safer than checks … at least when you’re processing digital payments using a PCI Level 1 compliant vendor.
None of the ideas above requires you to become an IT expert or break the bank. They’re readily available, easy to learn, and any one of them can make a measurable difference in your agency’s efficiency and client engagement. Try one AI tech solution or try them all. We’re equally excited about any technology that increases your AI. We support all progress toward becoming a more tech-driven agency. As we are fond of saying: Automate to dominate!
Todd Sorrel is co-founder of electronic payment processor ePayPolicy. The firm facilitates the acceptance of electronic payments via credit card and ACH with transaction fees being passed on to the consumer. This is part of a short series of articles on electronic payments. For more information, visit www.epaypolicy.com. The firm recently instituted an Independent Agency Insurtech Award; applications are being accepted through the end of September. For more information on the award, visit www.insurtechaward.com. Agencies that complete the award application will have access to tech implementation pointers and will receive at no cost a customized, agency-specific insurance technology adoption score.