A CSRs, or “customer service representatives,” is an individual who plays a key role in the success or failure of an insurance agency. Especially for agencies in competitive markets, there’s no way to measure the unprecedented value of a CSR.
Every day, people experience customer service in one way or another. For instance, when driving through a fast-food restaurant, the person who takes the order, gathers the money, and hands the food to the consumer is a customer service representative of that establishment.
All CSRs are important to their employers. However, this is especially true in the insurance industry. That’s when customer service representatives have a greater level of responsibility. Not only that, but they also serve in many roles.
Consider a CSR who works in your agency. This person supports the clients, answers their questions, and guides them through difficulties. However, they do more. The customer service representative also finds appropriate solutions, whether in the form of solving a problem or by connecting a client to the right agent.
The only way for an insurance agency to grow and thrive is by having all the necessary components in place. That includes outstanding policies, affordable premiums, unique programs, talented agents, and yes, a CSR.
Unless an agency has a CSR as part of the staff, critical things could easily fall through the cracks. After all, the customer service representative assists agents as they work to target their audience. Then, they provide support to prospects after they convert to a loyal customer.
To build a larger customer base that consists of satisfied individuals and businesses, an agency needs to have qualified CSRs on board. However, that’s not enough. After hiring a CSR with all the right qualities for the job, the next step is to ensure they have everything necessary to perform. Ultimately, that helps to bridge the gap between the customer service representative and the client.
Bringing a CSR and Producer Closer Together
To start with, an insurance agency needs to identify areas of both weaknesses and strengths within the organization. Then, it should devise a plan that leads to improvements and enhances what’s already working. The next step is to hire a qualified CSR. Top criteria include experience as a customer service representative and knowledge of the insurance industry.
However, this is where the agency has to take further steps so the CSR can build strong and lasting relationships with the producers within the agency and the clients they serve. Here are some of the ways to accomplish that goal.
Set Company Standards and CSR Expectations
A CSR is only as good as the insurance agency’s standards and policies. This person also needs to understand what the company expects from them. One important note: Rather than use a CSR for general purposes, agency owners should take full advantage of having this type of person as part of their team and give them specific responsibilities that no one else on the team can fill.
Training and Tools
It’s not fair to expect a CSR to perform optimally unless they’re given proper training and the tools required for the job. An agency should not only provide initial training but also give the representative opportunities throughout the year to hone their skills.
As for the types of tools that a CSR needs, an insurance agency management system is one of the best. This system stores valuable client information and boasts innovative features that streamline not only the job of the CSR but also the agents’ and insurance agency’s work as a whole.
Learn About the Clients
A CSR needs to have access to client information so they can become familiar with the people they deal with and form a better bond. Along with reviewing data stored in an insurance agency management system, they can talk to different agents within the organization.
Reach Clients on the Agency’s Website and Across Social Media
Remember, a CSR wears many hats. So, an insurance agency should utilize the representative’s talent cross-sell accounts and ensure that their clients have all of the proper coverages in place. Selling isn’t just the job of a producer – your CSRs are likely an underutilized salesforce! Remember, in today’s agencies – everybody sells.
Excellent Management Team
Usually, experience, knowledge, and training allow a CSR to handle all kinds of situations flawlessly. However, even the best representatives run into challenges. This is where an agency’s management team can make a huge difference.
The CSR needs to feel comfortable talking about anything relating to the business and has the management team’s full support. That way, they can arm themselves with the right information or plan that helps them better connect with clients.
Benefits of a Better Customer Service Representative and Producer Relationship
As the gap between a CSR and producer closes, positive changes occur. Both potential and existing clients develop a new level of trust and respect for the agency. That makes it easier for agents to do their jobs.
Bridging the gap between a CSR and producer can also bolster a company’s reputation. While a producer may sell the initial policy, a CSR is likely going to be the primary contact for most of the relationship. Ensuring that both your CSRs and producers are able to advise and secure the proper coverage for your clients can go a long way in bridging the gap between the two roles.
Summing it Up
Today, insurance agencies face stiff competition. To succeed, a highly qualified customer service representative provides incredible value. However, talent, experience, knowledge, and dedication aren’t enough for a representative to strengthen client relationships.
As part of the plan developed by an insurance agency, it’s important to include standards and expectations. That way, the CSR has a clear understanding of their role and purpose. Then, they need to offer ongoing training opportunities to the representative, as well as the right tools and resources.
When everything is combined, a customer service representative becomes an irreplaceable asset to your insurance agency.