How to Automate Your Independent Agency

Jamie focuses on new channels of communication that most agents wouldn’t even consider. He is currently developing his advertising for Snapchat as a new avenue to reach beyond his older audience. In 2011, Jamie decided to “take the leap” and start an agency from scratch. He faced many of the same challenges that other agents have faced when they leave the captive insurance world. 

Jamie realized he needed to build the infrastructure for his new company from the ground up. The marketing assets he had been using did not provide that dynamic value he needed to really WOW his clients. His website, for example, was little more than a brochure site, without any integration with his AMS or social channels.

The DNA of an agency

Starting a new agency is a big job, but it brings exciting new opportunities. Jamie was able to determine which solutions would be the perfect fit when it came to management systems, marketing automation, SEO, videos, and ads.  

Jamie refers to the technology that runs through the foundation of the company as “the DNA of the agency.” Just like human DNA, these crucial solutions determine the shape and function of an agency as it grows to maturity. This Agency Revolution client realized the wrong decision at the beginning could cause harmful mutations that would mean expensive and timely backtracking down the road. 

As Jamie sees it, it is important to develop a solid bedrock for a company. When an agent starts to “grind for money,” Jamie sees their efforts as “working in the business; not working on the business.” He was determined not to make that mistake.

Achieving client satisfaction through automation

Jamie has become hyper-focused on automation when it comes to marketing and operational software. He wanted to make sure that his technology was working for him around the clock. 

Nothing puts a smile on his face like the thank you responses from clients when he didn’t personally send them a message. Many clients even tell him that they know they are interacting with automated software. The value and convenience it provides are more than enough for them.

Automating the claims process

When it comes to headaches that automation can alleviate, Jamie points to the claims process:

“Automating the claim process means the minute a client is entered into my management system as a claim; it’s automatically triggering events to take place. They’re getting a text message from me, saying, “Hey, I understand what happened. Everything’s going to be okay.” They get an email with the same thing, with additional communication. I actually have a short little video that says, “Hey, I understand you had a loss, and I’m here to make sure things go right. Here are some of the things that you need to do.” Once the claim is closed, they get an email with a little survey from me asking a few questions about, “Hey, how did everything go?” It’s set up to provide touchpoints for the client, and that’s just one process here.”

Increasing the automation of his most essential processes means he can survive and thrive with fewer resources. But he rejects the “set it and forget it” attitude some agents adopt once they have installed an automation process. He says that to be victorious in marketing requires periodic fine-tuning and readjusting. 

Training for success

For Jamie, it all started with training himself on the software. As he moved forward, he continually developed his skills and knowledge. He dedicated himself to improving the client experience. 

Not surprisingly, he has seen almost miraculous results from these efforts to automate his systems. After launching a video testimonial campaign, he was pleased to find that his clients cited his automated system as a key element of his agency’s value. Often, they were even aware they were dealing with a computerized system. The benefits of immediate contact and follow-up outweighed human efforts that did not achieve the same results.

Millennials demand a great user experience

Jamie also understands that an improved user experience throughout his digital presence is key to attracting the elusive Millennial generation. 

“We as agents, we’re looking forward, but when it comes to designing your agency and building your agency for the future, we have to look backward. We have to look at the generation coming up behind us—the future customers of the agency and what are they going to look like? What are they going to do and how are they going to buy? How do they want to interact?”

He believes the trendy social platform will reach young people who might not be ready to become a client for another five or ten years.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Jamie admits he made mistakes along the way. When blunders occur, he finds that turning to an expert who has “been there and done that” is one of the best ways to avoid major mishaps. But even with expert guidance, mistakes are bound to occur. Perseverance and patience are key ingredients in any new venture. Creating a technology infrastructure is no different.

Another good piece of advice: start slow. There is no need to build Rome in a day.

“You don’t have to dive headfirst into stuff like this. You can dip your toe, and you can start with a few strategies. That’s my best advice to people, do that. Don’t try to dive headfirst in.”

Alleviate stress on your soldiers

Automation is a way for Jamie to execute his vision without putting undue stress on his staff. Jamie still loves to speak with clients. He prefers, however, to spend his time developing processes that don’t involve him. He stresses that it is imperative to allow the agency to run without relying on him too much. 

He knows that his employees are paramount to the success of his agency. Without an automated process, agents risk exhausting and alienating the insurance soldiers who fight for success every day. Any asset he can provide that makes their battle easier makes victory more assured.

Good marketing is a psychological exercise

One of Jamie’s strengths as an agency owner: he understands client psychology. Rather than spend time working with individual customers, he designed a system that delivers a superior experience to all of his customers.

Acknowledging the effect of automation on the mind of his clients offers unique advantages. In a climate where more and more agencies are becoming indistinguishable from each other, Jamie uses automation as a point of differentiation. It is a key part of his unique value proposition.

“I try to evaluate and say, “What are we doing that’s different compared to other agencies?” At the end of the day, the customer can literally pick up the phone and make ten phone calls and really get ten independent agencies. Pretty much, we can all provide the same thing as far as a price and a quote, but what I’m looking at is, how can I make that customer experience different and what are the things that are going to really wow that customer to keep them for a long time. That’s really what I truly believe will make this a long-lasting legacy for a long time, hopefully, for my children.”

Automation increases retention 

Every agent struggles to retain their profitable clients. By providing a streamlined and seamless user experience, Jamie finds that those that provide key revenue streams rarely choose to leave. They don’t want to risk losing access to his streamlined and simple process. 

“We all deal with renewal increases, premium increases, but if you can make that renewal, that experience, that touchpoint easy all the time, it doesn’t matter, they’ll pay more. You’re just taking that variable out of the equation that really is the retention factor. Just make it easy. Just think about how you can make things easy.”

If you want to learn more about Jamie and his processes, listen to the full interview here.

To find out how you can automate your agency like Jamie Trovato, learn about Fuse™.

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