Businesses are always on the look-out for ways to improve efficiencies in their business. A way of simplifying their operation, of speeding up the way in which business is conducted or freeing up time from practical tasks towards those which drive the company forward.
Key to this, across all industries, is the continual drive towards streamlining business-related processes. And it’s a particularly important factor for the future success of insurance brokers, and the schemes they bring to market.
Efficiency benefits staff and client alike
Often, when we consider the benefits of efficiency within an organisation, we think of it in terms of productivity improvements – as well we should. Efficient work in the office, the factory or the field makes the business inherently more productive. And greater productivity invariably leads to lower costs, higher output and – at the end of all that – increased profits.
And profit is the name of the game.
So yes, we strive for efficiency internally to improve productivity and the bottom line.
But efficiency is an outward looking trait as well. In a fast-paced, mobile and high-tech society, efficiency of service has a value.
Basically, nobody likes ‘faff’.
When we’re looking for a product or service, we want to search for it, purchase it and use or benefit from it, as swiftly as possible – with the minimum of fuss.
And if we need to engage, or call upon customer services at any given time, we’re looking for rapid response, and quick resolution or settlement.
Efficient processes throughout the life-cycle of the purchase – without ‘faff’, fuss or headache.
And it is in this understanding of the importance of efficient work, internally and client-facing, that underpins just how important the delivering of automated, streamlined processes can be to the success of your schemes and, by consequence, your business.
So what processes can be automated to deliver this efficiency and benefit the way we deliver schemes?
Management Information (MI)
MI is a crucial component in the delivery of schemes to market. The data within which we find trends, predict future market conditions, customer needs and analyse the way we interact with and service the requirements of our clients.
Old-fashioned methods of collating, analysing and reporting this data was a laborious process. Information that would be populated within reams of individual forms, each one filled in and sent to the office via email or, heaven forbid, post (remember that?). And, when we have to sift through such heavy volumes of data, it presents a natural time lag when delivering the results; running the risk that the business is always playing catch-up on the issues that matter. Furthermore, so arduous administration of such a process, just how much depth can be derived from the results?
It’s a process that simply needn’t be as time-consuming in the modern broker’s office.
Migrating your form filling and information gathering online automatically puts the detail into one place, each value itemised in its own column on a spreadsheet. It’s a huge boost to productivity. Saving you inordinate amounts of time, allowing you increased responsiveness to issues and trends unearthed in the data, while allowing a much deeper level of granular level analysis.
The renewals process can be a tricky element with the delivery of any scheme, in that it must adhere to compliance issues in an environment where authorities are keen to emphasise customer ‘shopping around’. And in terms of how you communicate and maintain good customer relations.
And, while Customer Relation Management (CRM) systems have been in use for years, flagging up timescales an renewal reminders, there still remained the painstaking task of physically sending out or emailing the correspondence from the office.
Again, it’s an area in which automation delivers greater productivity from an internal perspective while having the double-whammy effect of providing clear time-scales through effective and unobtrusive communication to the customer.
A system that automatically generates effective communications that comply with regulation and are delivered directly to the customer, via email, SMS or other mobile notification. Saving valuable admin time to enable broker’s greater business development opportunities, while ensuring the client benefits from a scheme that’s transparent and simply understood.
Simplicity on the Client Side
For a scheme to deliver successfully, there needs to be a value for the client at every stage of its life-cycle. As mentioned above, as consumers we are all now accustomed to ease of delivery through online channels. Complexity or poorly constructed processes turn us off. Insurance is no different. Make the customer jump through hoops and they will jump straight to a competitor.
Delivering simplicity at every juncture, through clear ‘touch and go’ processes online adds a real value to the product, in a landscape where ease of use is highly regarded.
- Effective zero-touch customer management – the ability for customers to have issues resolved swiftly via, for example, a direct online engagement (IM, mobile app-based resolutions or similar) without the indignation generating of spending hours on hold to a call-centre. Customer relationship management is ensuring that their needs are met and issues resolved in a satisfactory fashion. Get your zero-touch management right and the customer has the required simplicity while operating costs in customer service can be more efficiently managed internally.
- Easy Automated Payments – Secure online payment channels are the increasingly common way to pay, again driving simplicity to the process and reducing time-consuming activity on both client and broker side.
- Swift Claims Management – At the heart of any insurance policy is the trust that, when a claim is needed to be made, it will be handled swiftly, without stress, without further hoop jumping and resolved in the shortest time possible. Online contact, mobile apps and similar, allows the customer to put claims procedures into motion immediately. Auto-generated claims forms can be filled in via a mobile, offering the facility to attach photos directly from the phone. All of which can streamline the process, reduce the admin on the broker side and hasten resolution to the satisfaction of all.
Simplicity and productivity. These are the foundations upon which successful delivery of new schemes are built in a modern insurance marketplace. There will always be certain requirements, particular processes required to enable effective and compliant cover for clients. But the ability to streamline these requirements, and eliminate the time-consuming, unncessary admin surrounding them, can drive greater efficiency - and profitable use of time - while delivering simple, straightforward and user-friendly products that will appeal to the customer base.