If done correctly, automation can save you a ton of money, aggravation and time, says Advisor Evolved, with timesaving “being of utmost importance, as many business owners are simply not good at managing their time to begin with.”

Here are three key tips to guide your implementation:

DO automate your lead intake processes.

While any number of tasks can be automated, the main ones are online lead intake and processing, new client on-boarding, and retargeting.

“Automating your leads and new customer on-boarding processes alone are worth the money and effort to get familiar with it,” Advisor Evolved notes. “It’s not terribly hard to get started. You can also do other cool things like offer PDF guides as a way to retarget customers by collecting their emails and dripping content on them over time. There are definitely a lot of advantages to it!”

DO consider automating key customer communication tasks and workflow functions, says AgencyBloc, including:

  • Happy birthday messages
  • New individual prospect follow-ups
  • Lead form submission
  • Policy application processes
  • Policy renewals
  • Agent license expirations

Big benefit

“There are more benefits to automation than increasing efficiency or making your life easier, in general,” said AgencyBloc writer Kelsey Rosauer. “Often times, workflow automation includes some communication with clients, meaning you’re staying in touch with them which is what they want. With automation, you’re able to keep consistent contact with clients without adding any time or to-dos to your schedule.”

Milestone Tracking

CBLife, says President Jeff Levin, is building an automated process to communicate to both producers and policyholders when major milestones occur in the life of an application.

How it works

The process starts with an automated message to both the producer and policyholder that CBLife has received their application, says Levin. That is followed by additional communications that the policy is in underwriting, has been issued, and so on, he adds.

Major plusses

“This automatic communication of major milestones as part of our workflow process alleviates the question ‘What’s going on with my application?’” says Levin. “Frequent communication also alleviates the ‘out of sight/out of mind’ issue that can result in a loss of interest from the applicant. It also strengthens the relationship between the producer and their client by keeping the producer informed on the status of the business they have submitted, allowing clear updates to their clients.”

Don’t go overboard and lose sight of complexities.

No matter what industry you are talking about, there are key challenges to consider when it comes to automation, says Econsultancy. Automation rules cannot cope with complicated buyer journeys — at least not yet — and rules cannot adapt to changing contexts.

Further, the complexity of some automation systems may mean that the goal you set out with — less staff — is subverted by the need to hire staff to manage databases and technology.

PropertyCasualty360 lists five top automation challenges you may face when moving your agency toward outsourced solutions:

  1. Getting IT and business operations on the same page
  2. Automation silos that work well as a single entity but don’t play well with others
  3. Integrating wholesale agency and carrier systems
  4. Data standardization
  5. Scaling automation for companies of all sizes

Glass half full

“Our industry continues to look at ‘challenges’ as ‘opportunities,’” notes PropertyCasualty360. “By merging the needs of all parties aligned in the insurance transaction, we can be uniquely positioned to utilize automation as a driver of efficiencies, profitability and economies of scale.”