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Encompass® Agency Insights

New Year's Business Resolutions for 2016

Making 2016 the Best Year for Your Insurance Agency Starts Here


Now is the perfect time to reflect on the best ways to grow your small business, boost employee morale and improve customer service. Get started with these four resolutions:

Resolution #1: Improve employee retention.

The problem: A high turnover rate can wreak havoc on an insurance agency or small business. When your attention is constantly focused on hiring and training employees, it’s difficult to meet current customer needs while also growing your business. With the economy improving, more employees are voluntarily leaving jobs in search of positions that offer better benefits, flex time, or more career advancement opportunities.

The solution: Go beyond the standard benefits package and incentivize employees with retention bonuses, flextime, and telecommuting options. Don’t wait until a year-end performance review to check in with your employees. If an employee appears burnt out, disillusioned or dissatisfied, take action now to improve engagement. Finally, provide opportunities for career advancement through training and development.

Resolution #2: Do more with social media.

The problem: Do you have a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account for your agency but rarely use it? Wish you actually had time to respond to customer comments? For many agencies, social media management gets put on the backburner or falls through the cracks altogether. This can cause your agency to miss out on valuable opportunities to connect with potential customers or grow your personal brand.

The solution: Trying to juggle multiple social media accounts all at once is indeed overwhelming and time consuming. Take the pain out of social media with a free or low-cost social media management apps like Hootsuite and Buffer. These three platforms all offer social media scheduling options designed specifically for small and mid-sized businesses. Schedule posts in advance, publish content automatically, and quickly analyze performance with sophisticated reporting.

Resolution #3: Find out what your customers really want.

The problem: It’s hard to improve customer service if you don’t know what your clients want, especially if you’re not meeting their current needs. Real-time, in-person feedback can be extremely valuable, but not everyone feels comfortable sharing what they’re feeling in the moment.

The solution: Conduct an online customer service survey. Ask first for an overall rating (before posing any questions that might bias your clients’ response), then follow up with questions that are clear, concise and to the point. Hone in on the elements that are most essential to the customer service experience: likes, dislikes and needs. Always follow up by thanking participants with a short email or phone call and let them know just how much you value their feedback. Distribute the survey again in 6 months to check on your progress!

Resolution #4: Improve email marketing.

The problem: Does “list segmentation” and “A/B testing” sound like a foreign language? Not sure how to boost click through rates and open rates, or even what the difference between these two metrics are? Whether you’re just building your opt-in email list or seeking to improve performance, make this the year you learn about email marketing best practices—and apply these best practices to your agency’s email program.

Your solution: Just like social media marketing, email marketing gets a lot easier when you use a marketing partner. GetResponse, AWeber, MailChimp and iContact are four of the most popular email marketing services. All offer competitive monthly costs that are based on the size of your email list. MailChimp even offers free accounts for life to anyone with a list that’s up to 2,000 subscribers per month. All four services also include easy-to-follow tutorials that will walk you through the basics of setting up your first email campaign, customizing a template, and (later down the road) optimizing your campaign’s performance with A/B testing.

Let’s get started —what are your agency’s biggest goals for the new year?

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