Insurance agents we recently surveyed said it takes two to three weeks to gather and submit documentation from customers and forward them on to underwriting. What’s the holdup? Having to find and use scanners and fax machines adds days to a process that should take minutes.
Using MMS picture messaging with customers is a great way to speed up this unnecessarily long process.
Here are six steps to get it done within 48 hours:
Step One: Obtain consent (implied or explicit) from your customer and let them know you will be texting them information related to their policy
TCPA texting compliance requires that all businesses obtain consent prior to texting customers. Consent may fall into two categories: implied and explicit. Implied consent is much easier to obtain in that customers will typically provide a phone number to contact them at when inquiring about insurance. As an agent, you can either call or text this number as the customer is expecting you to reach out. However, all texting done under implied consent must be information (policy or account related) not for marketing.
Explicit consent, on the other hand, requires a client to actively agree and opt into texting which may include marketing and promotional information. Most agencies will provide this opt-in as part of the signup process for new customers. Please note, the opt-in must list that texts will include both informational and promotional texts. Some agencies will also provide the option to unsubscribe from texts at the bottom of all texts sent.
Step Two: Secure the win by building rapport with your new customer over text
You’d be surprised how well customers respond to your agency’s ability to text. Texting allows agents to build rapport, trust and a more personal relationship with customers who may have otherwise looked elsewhere for a cheaper quote. The fact is people want to work with people they like and trust. Texting helps establish this.
Step Three: Send a friendly appointment reminder to your client using scheduled texting
No one likes to deal with no-shows. It’s incredibly frustrating and feels like you’ve wasted your time. Not only do you have to prepare for the meeting, show up to the meeting and wait. You then have to follow up with the client after they’ve no-showed to reschedule the appointment. Scheduling a friendly appointment reminder that automatically goes to your customer a couple hours before your meeting can be a game changer. Your client will thank you for the reminder and immediately confirm if they can make it. Best of all, your customer will feel like you value their time because you took the initiative to check in and send a text reminder.
Step Four: Ask your customer to send a quick snapshot of their current insurance policy via MMS picture messaging
Customers want the signup process for insurance to be quick and painless. By texting you a picture of their current policy with another provider, you can quickly analyze and decide what they need. While the competition is still interviewing the customer, you are steps closer to closing that new policy.
Step Five: Communicate last minute details over text and request documents like exclusion forms to be sent via MMS picture messaging
Most agents face roadblocks at this point. Obtaining documentation from customers is painful for both parties. Make it easy and convenient for customers to send you documents by taking a snapshot with their smartphone and sending it right over to you via MMS picture messaging. It takes two seconds and can reduce process from two to three weeks to 24-48 hours.
Step Six: Upload the MMS messages your customers send to your texting platform and sync them with your CRM for underwriting
Using a cloud-based, compliant texting platform on your desktop computer, save the documents and images sent by your client via MMS and upload them to your CRM as attachments. For documents that require wet signatures, have the customer send an MMS picture message of that document while they send the original by mail. This way you’ll have the option to move forward to the next step with underwriting while the original is on its way.
Lauren Akamine is the Insurance Industry Specialist at Zipwhip, a company that allows you to send and receive texts from your existing business number on any computer, smartphone or tablet. Currently Zipwhip partners and serves over 2,000 insurance agents including Farmers Insurance, Allstate, Nationwide and AAA Insurance.
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