Please Offer Advice/solutions on Our Agency Workflow Problems...

May 16, 2016

  1. Chrisl
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    Chrisl New Member

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    This is primarily a post asking for suggestions from agency principals or agency management relating to service and workflow related questions:

    About us: 25 year Independent Agency with a fairly new/unexperienced staff due to retirements, relocations, new career paths, etc. half of service staff is in the office and half work from home.

    I am a principal in our agency and due to training new staff, covering for staff that have left and overall daily management, I have realized that I have devolved into a position of being lead CSR and have succumbed to my temptation to micro-manage. I monitor most service intake and delegate service work through our management system. I have a superb handle on what is going on, but at the real cost of not focusing on sales and revenue generation. Staff is now capable of taking ownership of and working together on incoming service.

    My question is how best to do this?

    Service comes to us, as I'm sure it does for most of you by various means:

    Inbound Phone (shared service voicemail box which broadcasts voice mails to multiple email accounts including mine).
    Emails to a service email address shared by a group of us, including me.
    Through our website
    Through internet fax (receive via email)


    CSM is handled by creating tasks in our agency management system. CSRs can task themselves or create a task for anyone else.

    I need to step out of basic service related management.

    What works best for you in regard to staff deciding who takes ownership of what calls, emails, voicemails, faxes, etc? I'd like to hear about some time tested proven methods.

    Years ago we divided up the alphabet and assigned dedicated CSRs to clients. It certainly had its advantages. However, I found it also fostered a serious "That's not my client." attitude among staff. Customer service would often suffer as a result if the dedicated agent was out of the office, on vacation, sick, on leave, etc.

    I could easily monitor service activity from our management system to quantify the number of tasks one agent may take on vs. another. Do any of you then reward staff for doing the work they are already being compensated for? Incentives for staff that take care of the most tasks?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
     
    Chrisl, May 16, 2016
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  2. CIServices
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    CIServices Expert

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    If you answer the phone you take care of it. Unless the person who initiated the situation is available right then and there.

    Easy answer to your solution is figure out what is best for the client?
     
  3. Chrisl
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    Chrisl New Member

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    Thanks for the advice.

    It makes sense that the first CSR to answer the phone takes care of the call.

    Can I ask if that's how it works in your agency? If so, are there any issues with CSRs avoiding the phone? Do some CSRs answer service calls more often that others and if so, are there any specific motivating factors/rewards for them to do so?

    A team approach (e.g. whomever is available takes the call) eliminates the "It's not my customer" viewpoint that can creep up. However, for emails and faxes that come in, the team approach can result in additional time spent alerting the rest of the group on each and every email or fax: "I got this one!" to avoid duplication of work.

    Dividing the book of business up for service by alphabet (e.g. clients with last names A-D are serviced by John CSR, E-I serviced by Jane CSR, etc) works great by eliminating delegating any service work but.....in my past experience can create that "It's not my customer" attitude.

    I'd be greatly appreciative of anyone else's feedback as to how things are set up in their agency.

    Thanks!

    ChrisL
     
    Chrisl, May 26, 2016
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  4. Professor Leads
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    Professor Leads Guru

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    You can use a software program that takes all inbound forms (service requests, quote requests) and turns them into an inbound real-time phone call that you can disperse via a round robin scenario to your team.

    This would greatly decrease service procrastination when someone submits a contact form (it gets done right then and there...no chasing down people) while also greatly increasing leads to close ratio for inbound quote requests (hit it while it's hot).

    (Disclaimer: I offer this software program and have submitted to Sam for placement in the insurance offers section. It should be up there any day now so I won't post a link to it here.)
     
  5. iris.mcginnis11
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    iris.mcginnis11 New Member

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    In a previous position, where I was a member of management, we would take ownership of the calls that came in (whoever answered the call, serviced the client, period) and delegate the faxes, emails and voice messages to the appropriate team members. In the case of vacation, sick days, termination we put back up Reps in place. Caution....This only works well with efficient staff and the amount of time an employee is going to be out. It actually worked well and defused the unnecessary whining over "who's client".

    Lastly, not a good idea to reward a natural expectation to work. What is the point of hiring employees if you have to pay them on top of their regular salaries to actually work?

    The only time extras should be given, in my opinion, is if an employee really went above and beyond the norm to provide a positive impact within the company. And even then, a $50 gift certificate to their favorite restaurant, coffee house or retail store should suffice. I wish you the best with your issue.

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    Chris,

    It sounds like you need to appoint a Team Lead or Captain to delegate work loads and keep track of service related work, if you are not financially ready to hire an Office Manager. Which you probably aren't since you haven't been focusing on Sales and Marketing. Maybe you need to invest in a surveillance camera in your office and reprimand bad behavior in your office. It actually irks me that people almost beg employers for jobs and when hired, the employees have to be begged to do the work. I honestly think an Office Manager and a large pack of "write up" slips will solve your issue. Again, I wish you the best! You sound like a really great Boss!
     
  6. GingerNinja
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    GingerNinja Super Genius

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    I think your biggest headaches will be relieved once you get rid of your at home positions. I can't imagine paying anyone an hourly wage from home.
     
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