SWITCHING TO AUTOMATION
Practical tips for agencies
By Raution Jaiswa
Automation is a hot buzzword in the business world, and for a good reason. It has the power to stream-line your processes, such as instant document collection and customer support, increase efficiency with consistent workflows, reduce manual labor, and save your agency time and money. If implemented properly, insurance agencies can get up to 300% ROI within year one. However, while automation has become a game-changer for businesses of all sizes, it might still be overwhelming if this is an unfamiliar topic to you.
With a clear plan in place and the right technology, the transition to automation can be seamless and straightforward. In this article, we aim to guide you through the steps of getting started with new automation, including how to identify agency processes that can be automated, evaluate automation technology, and develop a comprehensive implementation plan. So, if you’re ready to make your agency more efficient, keep reading and discover how automation can help you achieve this.
While automation can help reduce manual tasks, minimize errors, and save time, with so many functions to choose from, we understand that it can be challenging to know where to start. Here’s a detailed rundown of things to keep in mind when beginning your automation process.
[A]utomation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Careful planning, execution, and monitoring
are essential to transition to automation successfully.
First, identify areas to be automated. Some of these include:
- Customer onboarding. Once you define the steps involved in the customer onboarding process, including customer data collection, policy issuance, and account setup, you are able to set up your CRM to proceed through the process automatically.
- Claims processing. Automating claims submissions, data validation, and payment processing can help reduce the time it takes to process customer claims and eliminate human errors.
- Customer service. Customer inter-action is a mandatory part of every agency’s schedule. To help improve response times, reduce wait times, and boost customer satisfaction, you can automate responses to customer inquiries using prewritten templates and triggered responses based on customer actions. Implementing self-service portals and knowledge bases are also effective customer engagement tools.
- Automating reporting can help simplify the data-gathering process, and implementing scheduling and alerts will ensure that relevant reports are auto-delivered to you without manual intervention. These reports will play a crucial role in customer segmentation and provide customized solutions to your customers. Streamlining the reporting process will also reduce manual errors and give you access to real-time insights into business performance.
You can prioritize tasks by identifying areas for automation, determining which tools to use, and developing a roadmap for implementing automation. The key is to start small and gradually expand automation to other processes. This will ensure that your progress becomes more refined and easier on all the agents.
Next, choose the right tools. This is a critical step to ensure the success of your automation initiatives. The right CRM will help you streamline processes, improve efficiency, and reduce costs through its integrations and features such as task management, insights on analytics, etc. However, choosing the right tools can lead to saving time and resources.
Now that you’ve automated a few of the processes that best align with your agency’s growth strategy, it is vital to know how to ensure that the automated workflow works smoothly and efficiently. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Test the automation process and make any necessary changes to ensure that it works smoothly and efficiently.
- Monitor and evaluate the automation results regularly and make changes as needed to improve the automation’s effectiveness.
- As your agency grows and evolves, regularly re-evaluate your automation process and make changes to keep up with new needs and techno-logy advancements. It’s important to remember that automation can streamline many processes and make your agency more efficient, but it’s not a one-time solution. Continuously improving and refining your automation processes is key to getting the most out of automation.
Since automating your agency processes is becoming increasingly important in today’s fast-paced, digital-first business environment, there are several best practices that you may follow to ensure that it runs smoothly and coherently.
- Begin with a clear understanding of your current processes. This may involve mapping out the inefficiencies and determining the goals for automation.
- There are several insurance-specific software solutions available that can automate a variety of processes, from policy administration to claims management. Therefore, it is essential to choose a CRM that precisely fits the needs of your agency or can curate solutions based on your agency’s workflow.
- Since automated processes heavily rely on data, it is vital that you ensure accurate data entry into the CRM you use and that it’s periodically updated.
- The primary purpose of creating an automated system within your agency is to create an efficient work-flow in all streams. Therefore, it is essential that you streamline your processes before implementing an automated system so that you are able to minimize manual steps and improve the overall speed of the process.
- Since automated systems often store sensitive information related to the business, products, and customers, it is vital that you create a plan that ensures security and protection against unauthorized access. This measure includes implementing firewalls, encryption, secure passwords, etc.
- To run the automated process efficiently, train all agents on the new system, including how to use it, and troubleshoot any issues that may arise. Without this step, even the most structured process will fail to succeed, wasting resources and leading to unsatisfied customers.
It is tested and proven that auto-mating any processes may lead to significant improvements in the efficiency and productivity of your agency. However, to ensure a successful automation implementation and reap the benefits of a streamlined and optimized business, it is key to monitor and amend any automation steps to cater to your agency and the customers you serve.
While cost savings and increased efficiency are the prime benefits of set-ting up an automated process in your agency, it is essential to track specific values to determine its full impact. Here are some of the fundamental values that you should track when switching to automation:
- Time saved. Automation can save up to 20 hours per week on administrative tasks such as processing policies, answering customer inquiries, and resolving claims. You can now redirect this time to focus on value-added activities, such as building client relationships, cross-selling, and training. Hence, tracking the amount of time saved will allow you to measure the impact of automation on productivity.
- Improved accuracy. Since the risk of human error in data entry and calculation is significantly minimal in an automated process, you begin seeing a more accurate representation of client data, improved decision-making, and reduced errors and omissions. Insurance agents have reported that automation has reduced their error rates by up to 70%.
- Enhanced customer experience. Automation can provide faster and more accurate information by reducing the time it takes to process policies and resolve claims. This will help improve your customer satisfaction scores and feedback.
- Increased revenues. Automation can save your agency up to 30% of the costs associated with manual processes, such as the cost of paper, manual data entry, gathering and storing physical documents, printing, and postage.
- Increased agility. Real-time data handling gives you the agility for quicker decision-making. This leads to improved responsiveness to changing market conditions and enhanced competitiveness.
In conclusion, automation is a valuable tool in your arsenal if you are looking to improve efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction while increasing revenues. However, it is important to remember that automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Careful planning, execution, and monitoring are essential to transition to automation successfully. In addition, by working with experienced technology partners, you can streamline operations, stay competitive in the market, and provide your clients with the best possible experience.
Raution Jaiswal is CEO and co-founder of InsuredMine, an all-in-one sales, CRM, and marketing automation platform designed for insurance agencies and agents to deliver better client service and efficiently grow their business through digital transformation.