USING DATA TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS
Boosting retention, driving new business, and holding staff accountable
[O]ur agency management system … updates feeds with renewals, new business
and production goals to show producers how they are doing.
By Pam Deanovich
Every agency/brokerage is different, but all of them collect data of some kind. Many firms, like Compass Insurance Services, where I serve as commercial lines account manager, track data to boost customer retention, obtain new business and hold staff accountable, which keeps their businesses growing and thriving.
Why collect data?
When it comes to customer retention, it is important to note that customers are looking for a quick turnaround time for responses, and technologies like Applied CSR24 provide easy access to all of their insurance information. Technology also can streamline contact with customers at renewal, generating letters and emails to thank them for their business.
An agency or brokerage can further use technology to examine its current book of business (i.e., policies written), and then use that data to determine whether it can upsell missing products, such as cyber liability.
As for the use of data in generating new business, agencies and brokerages should have a producer structure in place that sets forth guidelines for current and future client prospecting. For my team, our agency management system provides opportunities for follow up and to assess new client progress. It also updates feeds with renewals, new business and production goals to show producers how they are doing.
Meanwhile, those in charge can use audit reports to help audit our current data and management systems and hold staff accountable to our standards. Paving the way for adopting new technologies
Data cleansing plays a major role in these tasks, keeping your management system ready for new systems and technologies to which your agency or brokerage may want to transfer its data. Some agencies and brokerages still perform day-to-day operations as they always have, and prefer to maintain the status quo.
For some, it is all they know. But for others, the firm may not have enough staff to adopt new technologies, or because technology is continuously evolving, they are satisfied with the technology they currently use and the efficiencies it provides.
Based on our experience, I offer three tips for data collection and organization:
- Implement consistent workflows and producer structures.
- Audit every department (i.e., accounting, employee benefits, commercial, personal lines, and so on).
- Make sure ownership is willing to make a change or advancement into technology.
Addressing data security issues
Agencies should be concerned about the security of the data they collect, especially if staff are using paper notebooks, sticky notes left on computers, and other methods outside of the firm’s internal structures used to protect data.
It can be challenging to get agency owners, principals and team members to move away from paper files, especially when they have always done things that way and do not trust management systems.
However, companies are becoming more efficient with downloads of application data and eDocs. In fact, a majority of our customers are online, using insurance portals each and every day because the policies are available at their fingertips.
Agencies and brokerages can service customers more quickly and easily via calls, emails or texts versus having to pull a paper file. While there may be a time and a place for sticky notes, usually data can be input directly into a specific field; and when done correctly, this protects client and agency/brokerage data and enables more effective marketing to customers.
Ownership buy-in is crucial
It is important for agency and brokerage owners and team members to understand the value and relevance of technology in our ever-changing world. Owners should reach out to peers in their local networks to gain a better understanding of where their agencies/brokerages are and where they can go.
Ultimately, agencies and brokerages need to understand the benefits of technology to collect valuable data to boost business and increase efficiency. Data collection, cleansing and organization go a long way toward achieving those goals.
Pam Deanovich is a commercial lines account manager at Compass Insurance Services in Wisconsin and a member of Applied Client Network, which is responsible for producing this column.