Smaller Steps Bring Better Results
IT budgets are shrinking while demand for new features is growing. Most agencies suffer from disparate systems that are costly to manage. Regulations relating to compliance, disclosures, privacy and data are becoming tougher and penalties heftier. Attracting and retaining talent is a challenge when millennials have other “experience economy” jobs available in plenty.
To stay competitive, agents and brokers must know how different technologies can be leveraged to manage their cost of operations and plug revenue leakages. It is not necessary that these technologies be radical and disruptive. Incremental and value-enhancing improvements including automation, business intelligence and analytics can contribute significantly. Smaller steps often lead to better results.
By automating repetitive processes—checking policies, issuing certificates, requesting information from carriers— we can free up people to do more valuable client-facing work. Chatbots and personal assistants can provide personalized customer experience at low cost.
However, in recent years, technologies have become more robust, highly modularized and easy to deploy. User interfaces have become smooth, and integration has become easy with API.
Implementation cycles have become shorter, for instance a smart bot required just five weeks to roll and run. With democratization of technology, the costs have become completely affordable today. Newer technology requirements also do not require any changes to existing workflow, so the business can carry on without any disruption.
Smart technologies provide quicker data capture, increase employee productivity and reduce operating costs. They also enable new online channels to engage low-value customers. That leads to increased customer engagement and self-fulfillment.
The next challenge is to provide a better level of service for small business accounts and also increase profitability. The only way to do this is by automating subprocesses for small businesses. The third is to manage compliance and create new revenue streams, for example, by helping clients to monitor required training and certifications. These new touchpoints add revenue and improve client engagement.
Creating a portal can help a broker be available for clients 24/7. Today, when we talk about 24/7 availability, we talk about offshoring. At 2 a.m., no one is going to be in the office to send a new certificate out. We can have all of those things done through technology and be available for your client 24/7 and 365 days a year without having to offshore.
The successful agency will use the right technology to enable its people to serve clients better.