Recently I had the opportunity to tour the Safeco Gold Service Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. We all have our own notions of what a service center is and does, and why we will or will not want to use them. Here are my personal observations.
First, let me say that I have always believed that service centers do an excellent job and are worth the expense for most agencies. We know that the Gold Service Center will treat your customers like “Gold”. Your customers (and you, the agent) can make changes, file claims, pay their bill, and many other things 24/7/365. In fact, MSAA places our Safeco Access Plus business in the service center. This allows you, the agent, to service the customer while it is in Access Plus.
Second, the Gold Service Center never closes, which means your agency is never closed for your customers. This is a very good thing for you, the agent, since we know that the expectations of our customers are changing and that they expect much more than they did previously. We must adapt to those changes and meet their expectations, or we will lose them as customers.
My tour of the center began with a short Power Point presentation. In it, they shared survey numbers which pointed out that the current agent spends 23% on working on retaining present customers and about 21% of their time on responding to service needs (changes, payments, etc.). Agents reported spending only 21% of their time quoting new business and a scant 9% on prospecting for new customers!
The agent of the future will be spending over a quarter of their time quoting and increase the time spent prospecting to over 16%. In the future, only about 25% of an agent’s time will be spent on both retention and responding to service needs. This is because the savvy agents will have their business in a service center. Where the extra time comes from is by letting the service center take care of day to day transactions, allowing the agent to focus on money generating activities such as new business sales, marketing, and proactive communications with your existing customers to help deepen the relationship.
I was paired with a CSR named Brittany. She impressed me with her high level of training and expertise. She had a computer with dual screens. When a call came in the incoming phone number showed up on one screen, along with the name and policy number of the customer if the phone number was paired with the customer. If not, she asked for the name on the policy or other information until the policy came up. It was a very slick operation.
I saw her take quite a few calls but I will only share the details of a few.
As you can see in just these few examples, the CSR was able to access each situation and come up with a solution. Imagine that these are your customers and that they are calling after your agency is closed. These are customers that were not calling Geico, Esurance, or another direct writer. They were customers who were taken care of in a timely manner on the customer’s schedule, and not the agents’ schedule. Much of this servicing is going on while the agency is closed. According to the statistics from the center, roughly 26.5% of the calls received come in after hours or on weekends. Conversely, that means that almost 75% of the calls are during regular business hours that you would have serviced. This is a way to buy more time, which can be utilized prospecting for new business and quoting.
Also, I thought about the math on the situation. What if each of these calls was on a $1000 premium account, generating $120 in commission at 12% renewal. If you had ten of these accounts for $10,000 premium per month would generate $1,200 commission. The cost of the service center is 1.5% or $150 that month. The agency still gets $1,050 that month. One account saved still would be $105 not lost to the agency. Add in the rounded account, and the increased premium we are close to even or possibly ahead. This is not a made-up number, since MSAA’s retention rate is less than 90% (but still ahead of our competitors), or more than one account lost per month in this scenario.
One main reason to use the service center occurred to me in light of the recent hurricanes. CAT losses are when we, as agents, have our chance to shine. The only reason to have insurance is to cover potential losses. In our territory over the last several years we have had a derecho, severe flooding, and massive snowstorms, all of which have caused disruptions of phone service to our offices and generated claims. The service centers were unaffected by our local CATs. If one goes down the others take the calls. These centers can begin the claims process while your office is closed due to power and phone interruptions. Your customers deserve to know that someone will be there to help them when they need it most. After all, that is what they pay us for.
Welcome to our NEW MSAA QUARTERLY NEWS! Please share with your staff and take the time to browse these short and informative articles, tips and events!
Today we have included a link for you to register for the MSAA Conference if you have not already. We look forward to seeing everyone in August!!
Jason who is also a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve has almost 19 years of service. He had the opportunity to go to Jordan to participate in an operation called Eagle Lion. Multiple US forces participated in the operation spread across the country of Jordan. Jason’s unit MP CO A was tasked with working with the Jordanian Marine Battalion focusing on Non-Lethal weapons tactics, entry control points, vehicle check points, patrolling in an urban environment, room clearing, and riot control.We thought from time to time we would send out updates on what is going on in the life of the staff or just give out general information about them. This month we wanted to let everyone know that Jason is back from his trip to Jordan.
He also had an opportunity to visit the ancient city of Petra, considered one of the 7 wonders of the world. He shared some of his pictures that are attached below and there is video link to some of the training that was done with the Jordanians.
Every year at our annual conference, we honor a MSAA Member who gives back to his or her community. We need your nominations for this award for anyone that works within your agencies. Please reach out to Kristin with your nominations before July 10th, 2017 with the name of the individual you would like to nominate and why he/she deserves to be recognized for their dedication to community service.
Some things to keep in mind:
We’re excited for the opportunity to recognize those who do so much for our communities! Email Kristin today with your nominations!
Safe Harbor Insurance, LLC