“Hiring Now” signs remain in many stores, including insurance agencies, in many cities across the country. Where have all the workers gone, and when are they coming back?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics it predicts the opening of 50,000 insurance salespeople every year going forward. Despite these gloomy predictions, there is hope that things will change and we will start to see more professionals interested in working in our industry, especially with companies that have talent acquisition and development strategies. However, even if this happens, many independent agencies will still face the challenge of retaining top performers, not to mention the associated costs.
According to HubSpot, more than 90% of customer service teams describe customer service expectations in the past and demand continues to rise. With these challenges and more, independent agents must change their practices if they want to be competitive among peers and direct mailers in the years to come.
According to our internal data, the best performing organizations have the highest wages and the most rigorously enforced policies per employee, and the best outperform their peers by 57%. Organizations that want to achieve this level of performance must be strategic in their approach. Overstaffing is an unsustainable process that leads to employee turnover, which affects an organization’s ability to grow its book of business. A consistent and successful quartile agent strategy is to continuously improve the business in a way that allows the team to focus on profitable, growth-oriented projects.
Here’s what we’re seeing bold sponsors do to increase how people spend their valuable time:
No. 1: Registering in the service center.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about affiliate marketing is that by signing up, they are giving up their relationship with their customers. The opposite is true. While insurers value personal relationships with their agents, when they have a need, many want it handled quickly and easily by an insurance professional. Having a great team of insurance professionals available at the carrier makes for a better customer experience and better days in the agency office. A mobile workplace frees up employees’ time to focus on building real relationships. Reduced response time for billing and payment calls means more time to reach out to customers in a smart, quick manner that reflects the true purpose of the organization and its commitment to its customers, such as negotiating account renewals and training on new product offerings. Our internal data shows that agents registered in our support center have a The top 42% is driven by CSR than unregistered workers. They only need a few employees to operate their business directory, so they also promote the power of retaining customers, prospecting for new customers, and creating a network within their organization. Some of our registered sponsors say their employees have more time to serve as brand ambassadors for the organization at local charity events. These providers are setting themselves apart from the market.
No. 2: They are investing in technology and using energy carriers.
This may be a story itself, but in short, high-preforming organizations apply advanced technologies to their employees and customers. With more and more businesses running a hybrid between office and remote work, a phone system that helps get calls to the right person the first time is essential. Most call centers record 100% of calls, and independent agencies should too. Call recording provides a better understanding of an organization’s operations, identification of opportunities for improvement, and effective training of employees for continuous improvement. What better way to get a new employee up to speed than to listen to a “rock star” call from their co-workers? And let’s not forget that customers don’t want to call the operator or carrier for anything. Successful organizations integrate online carrier portals and mobile apps into their overall customer service offering. They meet their customers where they have the same ability and time and the way they want to do business.
3: They’re staying true to the original story while chasing riches.
While it is important for many providers involved in purchasing to maintain their brand, there is much to be gained by centralizing key services, processes, and technologies in the near future. With every organizational change comes the opportunity to learn about the effectiveness that drives performance and customers. Quartile service providers implement mobile and digital services that are first available in all locations rather than further segmenting based on the offices assigned to customers. They integrate mail management and other support services, quickly enroll newly acquired business books in their established relationships with sponsors and expand technology platforms and professional development programs throughout their businesses. This opens up the possibility of a growing organization not having to replace employees when they go to work or hire other employees. Most importantly, it enables the organization to invest more time and energy in the people, roles, and activities that support its profitable growth.
Number 4: They continue to foster collaboration and communication between their sales and service teams, and they see their preferred partners as a complement to both.
The most successful organizations find ways to ensure that their sales professionals spend their time selling, their professionals spend their time serving, and their service centers support sales and delivery. Introducing new customers to the main team and all the ways they can be helped from the beginning reinforces the positive impression they made when establishing a relationship with the organization.
The most successful freelancers are always looking for ways to improve their business. This means pursuing strategies and capabilities that develop, strengthen and prolong customer relationships. Based on what their partners carry, agents are more resilient and open to the challenges they face in order to succeed – even in the most difficult of times.
Kim Kennedy is COO of Personal Lines at The Hanover. You can reach this agent by sending an email to [email protected]. These views are the author’s own.