2004 Best Practices Study
AGENCIES WITH REVENUES BETWEEN $1,250,000 AND $2,500,000
Keys to Maximizing Productivity While technology’s fast pace of change creates some anxiety, agencies seem to be more satisfied with their automation systems than ever before. The vast majority rate the overall impact on agency productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction and management information as positive to very positive.
Many agencies noted great success in scanning daily work and storing it in electronic filing sys- tems, thereby eliminating the need to constantly retrieve the paper records. These systems allow all members of the agency, from president to CSR, have immediate access to customer records and support their ability to electronically communicate the information to carriers, customers and each other.
Keys to Maximizing Productivity (Top 5 Listed in Order of Frequency Mentioned) 1. Effectively using automation (especially imaging/scanning, download, carrier websites, email, fax, etc.) 2. Eliminating/reducing redundant paper work, workflow inconsistencies, non- quality customer interactions 3. Providing ongoing education and training for staff 4. Planning and staying focused (on business wanted, partnerships needed, services to provide, etc.) 5. Providing incentives and bonuses to entire staff for goals attained
Carrier interface, both download "data dumps" and real-time processing, were seen as additional keys for maximizing productivity. Many agencies viewed both interface processes as far from perfect solutions, but recognized benefits: download for eliminating double entry of data, and real-time interface for reducing paperwork and processing times. When asked about key practices for maxi- mizing productivity, one agent answered, "To work with carriers that embrace real time (transformation station) and placing more of our accounts with them. I truly hope more of the carriers get on board with real time." Keys to Achieving a Competitive Advantage Agencies in this study group organically grew their total commissions and fees by nearly 15% and had a new business growth rate of 20.8%. Only firms that have been able to establish a competitive advantage are likely to achieve results like these. When asked what had been paramount to establishing this advan-
SERVICE STAFF INFO
tage, principals had varying answers ranging from reputation for integrity to good sales training. However, one answer was particular- ly revealing. The principal simply said, "Who's the better producer; me or the twenty- five year old I just hired? I am. So, I apply the 80/20 rule and cut the bottom 20% of my accounts (revenue), which equates to about half my accounts (number of accounts) and give them to him. He is cutting his teeth on these, and I'm out generating new business. Too many of my competitors are old and lazy and don't want to go after new business, so they won't give up their smaller accounts."
Keys to Achieving a Competitive Advantage (Top 5 Listed in Order of Frequency Mentioned) 1. Long-term professional reputation and presence in community 2. Knowledgeable, skilled, empowered staff 3. Strong client and carrier relationships
4. Quality of products and services 5. Professionalism of sales staff
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