How An Insurance Agent Can Use Outsourcing To Their Advantage
The word “outsourcing” often comes with a negative connotation due to the death of traditional manufacturing-type jobs throughout the United States. So it’s not common to see articles that celebrate the idea, but as an independent insurance agent, you definitely shouldn’t look at it as a four-letter word. For starters, outsourcing doesn’t have to kill jobs. If done right, it makes jobs more efficient and fulfilling by allowing employees to refocus their efforts on a narrower definition of your business’s core competence. It can also reduce business expenses — some estimates have savings between 15 and 30 percent annually — and keep everyone focused on what matters most. The customer.
But where are some practical areas where you can put it to use? We’ve thought of a few.
- Back Office Processing
A good outsourcer can streamline almost every type of back office process — insurance claims, payroll, card swipes, and benefits distribution, to name a few. While not all of these solutions may be practical, it always helps to get this type of thing out-of-house because it refocuses everyone on core competence, and since your outsourcer will be more committed to the duties, they’re less likely to make oversights that would divert your attention away from the customer.
- Order Entry
Selling and servicing the customer requires a special degree of product knowledge and bedside manner. Order or data entry, while important, is something that can be accomplished with outside help, and it can be done at minimal cost. So why not outsource?
Order and data provisioning is often essential because insurance agents tend to have a mishmash of systems working in their offices, and it may require “a human set of eyes” to move information from point A to point B, notes the Insurance Journal. Again, as with order entry, this type of function requires minimal training and can be handled through an outside company.
- After Hours Support
Many customers find it hard to conduct insurance business after hours because of work or childcare obligations. Having after hours support available is not only a great value-added service that appeals to a customer’s need for convenience, it’s something that can be easily handled with outside help.
- Online Presence
Every insurance agent should have an online presence in the 21st Century as we’ve discussed in previous postings on this very blog. The influence of the web and mobile are undeniable on our industry, and if you’re not set up to meet your customers where they are, then you’re heading for trouble with future new customer acquisition. The problem with having an online presence and doing it right, however, is that it takes a lot of time to set up. And unlike a lot of the other outsourcing functions that you could handle on your own if not for focusing on your core competence, this is an area where you may not have the internal skills and training to handle on your own. Blogging, SEO, social media — all of these things may require your checking in and offering direct expertise, but they can also be too time consuming to handle on your own.
Outsourcing can offer a big boost to your business while trimming back your overhead, but only if you can move past the initial stigma of utilizing it. The good news is that you can do it without cutting jobs, while giving your employees a deeper sense of purpose. Also, there are numerous opportunities to use it, so you can pick and choose the areas where you need the most help or go all-in. Good luck however you decide to do it.