Getting the most from a CRM

Is your customer relationship management (CRM) system little more than a glorified Rolodex? Many use CRM’s basic features—contact management, appointments, notes, etc.—without ever exploring its full power.

Here are several ways to maximize the value of your CRM:

Adding That Personal Touch

It’s easy to underestimate the power of a simple “happy birthday” message sent to a valued associate—a customer, an assistant, a contact at a carrier, etc. It lends a human touch that can really improve relationships and interactions. Most CRM systems make this easy through simple reports that comb through your database for important upcoming dates. Then generate letters or e-mail messages personalized for each recipient.

Keeping Tabs

When managing others, the CRM can identify which producers are really producing and which ones are just using your office as a resource center? A good CRM system will let you build reports that show data like how many calls your producers make, how many illustrations your agency generates for them, and much more.

For more in-depth analysis, you can even track how much premium a producer generates per illustration run, for example. Statistics like these can give you a solid idea about how much return your business is receiving on its investment in a particular producer.

Ensuring Continuity of Service

When a member of your staff is absent due to vacation or some other reason, it can be difficult for other staff to step in if important information isn’t readily accessible.

Your CRM system can minimize any disruption. By training your staff to add notes, correspondence, and documents into the system after all interactions with producers or other parties—or even automating some or all of that information gathering—you create a valuable record that any other employee can refer to.

And when your employee returns, he or she can get back up to speed quickly by referring to that record.

Using Resources Wisely

A good CRM system can also help ensure that your people go about their work in an organized, efficient way.

One way to do so is to use the CRM as the center of your staff’s workflows. Using different solutions for CRM, case management, sales, commissions, and the like can lead to repeat data entry and other inefficiencies. The better CRM systems aimed at agencies can either handle those tasks themselves or integrate with external solutions when necessary.

Another area worth exploring is whether your staff is spending time doing things that your CRM system could be doing. For example, your CRM system may provide restricted access to producers so that they can check pending case status. If your CRM’s notes and call logs show that your staff is spending a lot of time fielding calls and emails from producers about case status, you can enable producer access to the system and start educating producers about how to use it.

Sherri IsaacsonSherri Isaacson, Director of Agency Management
Ebix's SmartOffice platform