5 Things MGAs can’t do with a spreadsheet

Businesses love spreadsheets, and insurers are significant users. 

In Insurance, managing customer activities on sheets is still commonplace. Multiple spreadsheets get copied, created and shared daily.  Spreadsheets are legitimately useful for data sorting and offer a limited way of organising your contacts. They don’t help you grow a book of business. Rows and columns simply aren’t built for managing prospects and collaborating with other members of the team. Here are five things MGAs can’t do with a spreadsheet.

1. Have a 360-degree view of Customer Interactions.

A spreadsheet can tell you when you first contacted or most recently contacted a prospect or customer. What it can’t do is keep the customer at the centre – giving you a 360-degree view of customer interactions and allow personalised communications through any channel they use, whether web, social media, email or phone.  

The chronological timeline of every interaction with a customer enables smooth renewals, upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Having a full view of customer conversations and products purchased enables the insurance agent to deliver personalised, professional, accurate and timely service that meets and exceeds customer expectations.

Sam White, CEO & Founder, 360 Freedom Services Group: “Even a standard quote gives you lots of information about your customer, but only speaking to them once a year won’t build a relationship with them.  People are happy to share their data if they feel they are getting something back – value – let’s show them how insurance can enable people to have better lives.”

Peter Goodman, CEO & Founder, Aventus: “Insurance moments can only happen with the right data.  When people move house or set up a business, these are all key insurance moments and the data is available.  Consolidate the data, understand the customer and their insurance moments and then cross-sell them what they need.  There are three core cornerstones of CRM: know me; guide me; make it easy.”

2. Create standardised onboarding and support processes.

Spreadsheets just can’t create a seamless insurance customer journey from on-line or phone application, through a quick quote to purchase. An integrated CRM starts with capturing and populating key data in one system. 

Having a single system and standard sales process provides an easy way to train new agents, set expectations and streamline efforts. CRM workflows build a foundation of consistency that makes your team more confident and efficient. Creating a customer sales process is an essential thing for insurers, and there’s absolutely nothing in a spreadsheet that can replicate it.

Ben Turner, Strategic Account Director, Salesforce Financial Services: “It amazes me how many insurers hold data in different systems in spreadsheets.  How can you follow even basic CRM principles if your data isn’t all in one place?  It takes a mind shift to move from spreadsheets to rationalisation of data.”

3. Communicate, collaborate and alert.

Spreadsheets are shareable, but the process of editing or reviewing a spreadsheet together is inefficient at best and disorganised at worst. Spreadsheet comment fields  designed for brief notes become crowded when used for back-and-forth communication. 

Salesforce enables notifications for renewals, and workflows can highlight and alert you to sales opportunities with smart alert reminders of important life events or ‘insurance moments’ as we call them, for individual customers, that might prompt the need for new insurances.  

Multiple departments, underwriting, claims, fraud, sales, and customer service all benefit from the same single view of the customer.

Ben Turner, Strategic Account Director, Salesforce Financial Services: “No-one says customers are cheap to acquire, so it’s amazing that (MGAs) don’t do more with them.  Remove legacy barriers, use technology and CRM to drive your sales strategy, and you’ll do more business with your customers.  It’s a CRM digital arms race.”

4. Business Health. Spreadsheets are challenging when faced with layers of spreadsheet data and trying to come up with a coherent business forecast or an analysis of your book of business. A CRM can give you an easily digestible real-time view of this crucial information.

Sam White, CEO & Founder, 360 Freedom Services Group: “As a CEO I don’t want data, I want information.  What’s not converting, where are the cross-sell opportunities etc… a high quality CRM gives you that.  

“My utopia is to know what the opportunities are to engage with my customers outside of insurance.  We have to lose this fear that customers will switch if we connect with them – regulation now has made that fear irrational.  Far better to flip it on its head and embrace the opportunity to connect with the customer to deliver more value.”

Peter Goodman: “CRM opens opportunities that the company as a whole can look at, not just looking at the data in ‘product’ silos.”

5. Integrate with the tech ecosystem.

Spreadsheets can export data in comma-separated values, and insurers currently share these across the business.  Spreadsheets are pretty much useless for the insurance process as there is no way to align its data for the real-time digital world.  Data needs to integrate with email platforms and customer support software for insurers to access a broader ecosystem of business tools and operate competitively. Agents can work within a single platform, instead of switching back and forth between multiple tools.

Peter Goodman: “If you have a system for data that never evolves without you asking it to and isn’t part of an ecosystem, then it won’t evolve – it’s not future proofed.”

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