2004 Best Practices Study
AGENCIES WITH REVENUES UNDER $500,000
Keys to Maximizing Productivity When asked to identify their keys to maximizing productivity the top three responses from these agencies were automation; cross- selling accounts; and experienced, well-trained employees. The
use of download and real-time interface were particularly important automation related keys as the use supported a "touch it once" and "get it done now" approach. Interestingly, a quarter of the agencies in this group reported that they did not utilize an agency management system. This is not to say that these agencies have not embraced technology. Instead, they rely on car- rier automation products and websites and other business software. As with other agencies in this group, the non-management system agen- cies also focus on standard procedures and the use of direct bill to help keep workflows stream- lined and efficient.
Keys to Maximizing Productivity (Top 5 Listed in Order of Frequency Mentioned)
1. Maximized use of automation 2. Good employees who know and understand our customers and products 3. Cross selling and/or niche marketing 4. Having standardized workflows and systems in place 5. Providing a good work environment
Keys to Achieving a Competitive Advantage Because of the very personal relationships these agencies enjoy with their customers, most believe that the number of years they have been in business and their exposure through local community involvement provides their competitive advantage. Many agencies in this group have been in business for more than fifty years with long-term employees that bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. This longevity and involvement supports the agency’s ability to maintain a valuable net- work of personal and business contacts for referrals, as well as staying connected to evolving com- munity needs.
SERVICE STAFF INFO
In contrast to the "local agency" approach, several agencies in this group have gained a competitive advantage by offering very specialized products to a much broader marketplace than their local communities. One firm stated, "The seven national accounts we service also market products for us to their members which gives us warm leads regularly and, in essence, do much of our selling for us."
Keys to Achieving a Competitive Advantage (Top 5 Listed in Order of Frequency Mentioned)
1. Providing local, personal service 2. Longevity - number of years in business helps creates trust 3. Involvement in local community and industry groups 4. Experienced, knowledgeable employees 5. Up-to-date automation and use of technology
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