When you consider all the ways you can make your agency more efficient, the technological aspects can be overwhelming. This can be anything from considering a new agency management system to determining if you want to work with a company that provides back-office support.
For most agency owners, I find that one of the greatest challenges is that they adopt new technology because they don’t fully understand the power of their current technology. When agents approach integrating and adopting new technology mindfully it can be a great success. On the other hand, when agents don’t have a plan to source, implement, adopt and track metrics on new technology it can create great stress not only to their agencies but on their customers, too. Here are a few tips on how to make this a smoother process:
Identify the need you are trying to fill. It’s critical to first understand the need that is being filled by adding new technology to your agency’s tech stack. Make sure that you conduct a full needs analysis, including key stakeholders and end users that will be asked to adopt this new technology. It’s important to define the problem clearly and to consider any current solutions that may exist within your current programs already. All too often, we don’t understand the power of our current systems fully and create competing solutions that don’t allow for us to capture the metrics we need to make the best decisions for the agencies’ future.
Due diligence. Make sure to look at alternatives when sourcing a new solution. This will allow you to understand exactly what you will and won’t be getting. A decision matrix can assist in keeping track of priorities (i.e., nice to have vs. need to have). There is no perfect system but there is a perfect solution for your agency when done thoughtfully and your technology is working to make your end users more efficient and create a great customer experience.
Implementation. Don’t rush the implementation process—slow down to speed up. Take the time to invest in training resources, professional consultants or technology experts who will help you set up and implement your new technology. The last thing you want is to look back in a year and wish you had done it differently. If it’s an investment that will pay back in efficiencies and a better customer experience for your client don’t skimp on the initial implementation.
Adoption. Provide your end users with training and support during the adoption process. Give them a place to provide feedback for what is and is not working. This will allow you to help them overcome obstacles quickly. They also will see that you have made this decision for the betterment of your agency and that adoption will be necessary. It also provides them a place to voice concerns and for your agency’s leadership to address those concerns quickly to get your employees back on track.
Tracking. Understanding how you will track adoption of the new technology will be key to understanding the return on your agency’s investment. Be sure to know where and how you will obtain these metrics. This will help you analyze performance and share this information with your teams—so they can celebrate and see how this change made their lives better.
Be consistent. Take feedback, make adjustments as needed, but be consistent in your messaging that this new process is being adopted and there are no exceptions. This may seem harsh, but if you have followed all the steps that got you to this point, then you must stand firm in the decision that is best for your agency.
—For more on how to navigate through the hard market, see the October issue of PIA Magazine, which features Fernandez’s article on how to use marketing campaigns to educate and build relationships.—
Bobbie Fernandez, AIS, is a performance coach at Agency Performance Partners. She has spent her career serving independent insurance agencies. Fernandez has worked with and trained remote workforces globally. Additionally, she has assisted agencies to solve their biggest challenges with honesty and fun. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, log on to www.agencyperformancepartners.com or www.linkedin.com/in/insureyou.