Four ways being a dinosaur will cost your insurance agency.
It’s easy to think that digitizing your agency is a cost. At first glance, taking steps to upgrade your operation with technology can seem more expensive than inaction.
But is it?
I have written in the past about how resisting the right technology and the efficiencies it creates can make it challenging to sell an agency. But even without considering that, being a dinosaur agency costs a lot more than many realize.
Compared to sound, savvy investments in technology, the price of doing nothing is steep. And only getting steeper.
Here are four ways being a dinosaur will cost your insurance agency.
1) Being a dinosaur creates employee churn.
In commercial insurance, people are your biggest expense. And retaining your best team members can be your biggest challenge.
When employees, especially your younger staff, find the technology at your firm underwhelming, it affects how they feel about their role and your company. They want to be at a forward-thinking company, not an outfit that still has an operating fax machine. And the recruits with the most potential in any industry don’t want to be stuck doing mindless data entry or other tedious administrative tasks, especially when they are accustomed to using technology to accomplish this kind of work.
2) Being a dinosaur makes recruiting difficult.
It’s no secret the insurance industry faces challenges when it comes to recruiting the next generation of talent. The generation emerging from college doesn’t rank insurance highly as a career path, largely because tech and other relatively new business categories grab more of the spotlight. Younger people fail to see the many benefits of an insurance career, from financial opportunity to the chance to learn about all kinds of different businesses. When you are working against this kind of resistance, how much your agency embraces tech can be a difference-maker.
3) Being a dinosaur hurts morale.
If the pandemic has taught us anything about operating businesses, it’s that employees value flexibility and respect for their time.
When you force your employees to do work that could be done more efficiently with better software, their enthusiasm will eventually lag. Even the most committed agent at your firm will grow frustrated, and wonder why they are investing so much of their energy.
The right software produces the kind of flexibility employees crave. That means getting work done from nearly anywhere, at virtually any time of day. Sure, when we’re all on the other side of the pandemic, some aspects of the normal office routine will return. But after all this time of remote work, there will be little patience for tasks that require printers or scanners or, yikes, fax machines.
Over time, this will contribute to a dip in motivation among your staff. When people start to believe their time and work isn’t valued, the energy they put into their job can lag. For an insurance agency, that may mean less new revenue and fewer upsells to existing clients.
4) Being a dinosaur costs you customers.
Yes, your T-Rex appearance will turn off many customers—existing and new.
You know that established, existing customers, and that consistent revenue, are the lifeblood of your business. What’s more, you have worked hard to build solid relationships and your clients value your expert advice.
But your clients are also working with technology in nearly every other aspect of their business. Even the most traditional companies have seen how it can increase efficiency, improve accuracy, and give them more time to focus on the parts of their work that they truly enjoy.
So when they face yet another year of forms with tiny boxes and fields that request information they have provided in the past, they will start to question the process. They will wonder why they have to invest so much of their own time in securing a renewal. Over time, this frustration will chip away at the relationships you have so carefully cultivated. When new leadership takes over, perhaps the next generation at a family firm, they will be even more likely to review their options.
Existing customers aren’t the only ones a dinosaur agency risks losing. Imagine new and growing companies. When they seek out an insurance brokerage, they will want an operation that reflects their own. And chances are, that is going to be one that embraces the efficiency technology provides. The next generation of successful companies will be led by people who grew up in a digital world, and will be unlikely to choose agencies that have resisted it.
Get rid of those dinosaur bones.
Whether it’s a fossilized, legacy Agency Management System, or an old-school renewal process, the cost of doing nothing is steep. Focus on smart technology investments to keep your employees motivated, your clients happy, and your agency growing.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020