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Best Practices Benchmarks

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IIABA's Best Practices Tools are available to improve your agency's performance. The Best Practices initiative evolved by asking top rated agencies how they got where they are. IIABA provides a complete family of Best Practices tools, workshops, and services to help your agency reach its full potential. Best Practices can help you understand the past, analyze the present and formulate a strategy for the future.
 
 
To obtain the resources you need,  visit IIABA's Best Practices website by clicking here.
The Best Practices line of tools and seminars was developed out of the need to help Big “I” members maintain and improve the value of their most important asset – their agencies.  Since the first products were released in 1993, a continuously growing library of high quality materials has helped thousands of agencies contrast, evaluate, and enhance their performance in areas critical to their continued success.  At the heart of the program is the annual Best Practices Study and the Updates, which are based on 224 top performing agencies.  When reviewing the interviews and results are looked at as a whole, there are certain characteristics that are seen across the board with all the Best Practices agencies.  How many do you recognize within your agency?
 
CHARACTERISTICS OF A BEST PRACTICES AGENCY:
 
1.    Focus on customer service and satisfaction through both formal and informal surveys and informal inquiries about customers’ perceptions of how the agency is meeting their expectations and how it might improve service.
 
2.    Frequent customer contact for the purposes of educating the client, building the account, explaining new products and prices, serving as consultant and problem solver and making each contact pleasant and productive.
 
3.    Valued staff.  Employees are given the education, training and tools they need to do their jobs.  They are expected to perform at high levels and to grow personally and professionally, and their accomplishments are rewarded, recognized and celebrated.  Finding & keeping valued staff is now incredibly important as baby boomers retire by the droves.  
4.      Participatory management.  Top managers are involved in day-to-day operations.  They share financial information and make sure that employees understand profit expectations.  Employees have the authority to exercise their responsibilities and have input in planning and budgeting.
 
5.      Vision.  The agency has a clear mission statement that focuses on the customer.  The mission statement is shared with and understood by every member of the staff.
 
6.    Win/win supplier relationships.  Agencies seek partnerships with insurers that share their vision and values.  They take part in joint planning and the principles that govern agency-company relationships are trust and respect.
 
7.    Efficient processes.  Technology is no longer an option, it is a necessity for growth, continuous improvement, and customer contact & satisfaction.  Agencies must streamline workflows for the benefit of both employees and customers and strive “to do things right the first time.”
 
8.    Continuous improvement.  Always seeking ways to be better, agencies continually measure their performance against past performance as well as against that of competitors and successful non-insurance enterprises.
 
9.   Focus on revenue growth.  This remains critical to long-term survival and agency value.   Growth comes from a focus on Account Development and leveraging relationships but the new or renewed focus on growth encompasses new ways of finding customers and keeping them such as social media and other technologies.   
If you are looking to improve your agency customer service check out Customer Service Made Simple, recruit new producers or need sample producer contracts, check out Top Producers: Discover, Train, Reward, or if you want to compare your agency results to high-performing agencies, be sure to check out the latest version of the Best Practices Study along with the other available resources.   The Best Practices information, order forms and e-book purchase links can be found by visiting the Big “I” Website at www.independentagent.com and then selecting “Resources” then “Best Practices” or send an email to BestPractices@iiaba.net for more information.