Insurance Scheduling: Why Traditional Field Service Management Fails
Digital transformation has completely changed the way organisations in every industry deliver their products and services—and those that operate in the insurance space are no exception. The promise of optimised processes, digitised administration, a streamlined appointment booking process, and data-backed business insights have captivated insurance companies and inspired them to adopt a more digitally-minded approach.
But many insurance businesses struggle to keep up with ever-evolving technologies, implement truly dat a-driven processes, and meet increasing customer expectations. They often invest in a variety of disparate tools to mitigate these challenges, but doing so typically results in unintentional tool sprawl, data silos, operational inefficiencies, and a poor employee and customer experience.
An intelligent booking process (backed by powerful tools) can eliminate time-consuming manual tasks and offer greater autonomy for insurance sales advisors and consultants in the field. With the right field service management (FSM) solution, insurance organisations can more easily scale their operations, drive employee satisfaction, and offer total workforce visibility; enabling companies to make meaningful operational improvements that impact their bottom line.
Trends and Challenges Shaping the Insurance Industry
Organisations operating in today’s insurance landscape face a variety of challenges that threaten their ability to provide cost-effective, satisfactory experiences and make valuable, insights-backed business improvements. Some common challenges include:
As insurance companies look to grow their business and scale up their success, they often patch together a variety of seemingly cost-effective tools (e.g. Excel, Google Sheets, etc.) for scheduling sales advisors’ appointments. They build multiple versions of those schedules as things change and as scheduling conflicts arise. But here’s the thing: Decentralised, offline, or manual scheduling methods inevitably lead to confusion and errors, especially as the organisation grows. They don’t enable up-to-date messaging with employees, so everything must be transferred to text, emails, or phone calls. Couple that with the fact that these appointments can be delivered in person, via phone, or virtually, and the booking process becomes a complicated mess.
It’s a time-consuming, error-prone loop, as operating multiple systems at once diminishes the effectiveness of each system and increases the likelihood of mistakes with each data transfer. So as the operation scales, sales advisors (and partners who book appointments on their behalf when cross-selling products) find it difficult—if not impossible—to remain productive and efficient.
Effective, streamlined back-office processes are essential to successful scaling, but that requires consolidating operations and modernising the technologies that employees rely upon. Inflexible legacy systems just won’t cut it, which is why 21% of insurance organisations plan to invest in efficient data transformations. Systems integrations that support operational processes are crucial for eliminating redundant, costly processes, and those that fail to implement integration initiatives will likely fall behind their competitors.
Offering worker autonomy
Sales advisors want greater control over how they manage their availability, pick up assignments, and swap bookings with their colleagues. This desire to work autonomously has only grown as more and more organisations shift to a remote or hyper-hybrid working environment. Increasingly, employees expect to shape their schedule and working hours.
Without the right systems and tools in place, organisations can’t empower their employees to control their availability and working hours. Instead, they’re ill-equipped to handle dynamic, increasingly complex work environments and lack the technology needed to support independence. In fact, only 6% of organisations feel their deskless workforce is “very autonomous” and less than one-in-ten workers feel they have a high degree of control over their schedules.
Although 97% of organisations recognise that increased worker autonomy would improve retention, empowering their employees with tools to extend their capabilities and support that autonomy is still a low strategic priority. Competitive insurance organisations should take note; as the incentive of flexible employment can improve retention and reduce the cost of attrition.
Ensuring consistent data
Many insurance companies still leverage disparate systems and processes across operations, but disconnected tools and workflows hinder the productivity of their workforce. Plus, it makes it difficult to properly collect, manage, and report on data, leading to limited operational visibility. Without that visibility, it’s incredibly difficult for insurance companies to understand where they have shortcomings and where there might be opportunities for growth.
To make informed decisions about the business, insurance organisations need consistent, seamless access to the right data. Static monthly or quarterly reports (which take a significant amount of time to consolidate and build) simply aren’t enough to make meaningful, timely decisions that improve operational efficiency, enhance the customer experience, and increase the bottom line.
Streamlining the booking process
For many insurance companies, scheduling sales advisors and consultants who speak to new and existing customers in the field means navigating analog operations. Both back-office employees and deskless workers must toggle between a variety of apps to access and update schedules, modify appointments, and notify each other of incoming assignments.
Schedulers often use outdated tools—like spreadsheets—to search for field agents/advisors’ locations, workloads, skill sets, and more, which makes it difficult and time-consuming to book the right person for the right job. Once they do find the right person for an appointment, the field agents/advisor wastes valuable time finding the best route for the job, digging through systems for customer information, and searching for other relevant resources.
Inefficiencies in the booking process impact the number of appointments a team can viably schedule and fulfill. What’s more, they diminish productivity and create frustration for employees, ultimately increasing turnover rates.
Benefits of Field Service Management for Insurance Companies
In order to eliminate inefficiencies, improve employee satisfaction, and boost revenue, insurance companies need powerful solutions that help them overcome their operational challenges. Forward-thinking insurance organizations have thus started investing in field service management software, which offers a variety of key benefits:
Reliable service through efficient scheduling
The right field service management solution can help schedulers optimise appointment scheduling based on sales’ proximity, availability, or skill set. Instead of working from static, outdated spreadsheets or other manual tools, staff schedulers have a real-time, dynamic view of their workforce, enabling them to streamline the scheduling process.
Within a field service application, the scheduling engine accounts for various factors (e.g. current location, workloads, team member certifications, etc.), so schedulers can quickly analyse their options and identify which salesperson is most appropriate for each job. Plus, modern tools can even schedule the appointment automatically or help the scheduler leverage up-to-date, accurate information to then create the assignment themselves.
The result is a more efficient, reliable scheduling process that ensures accurate booking every time. And since powerful field service management solutions offer mobile-first capabilities, sales advisors can access and adjust their schedules while they’re in the field, even offline. This increases their level of autonomy, too, since they no longer need to rely on back-office schedulers to reject or accept appointments or manage their availability. Consultants are more productive, independent, and satisfied with their daily work.
Optimise routes and task time management
In addition to easier scheduling, a modern field service management solution can help insurance organisations optimise routing for field adjusters and sales advisors. Instead of having to switch between their work platform, communication tools, and navigation apps, workers in the field can instantly access up-to-date routes from one centralised app that get them to the next appointment as quickly as possible.
The right FSM software takes into account a variety of routing factors (like traffic, detours, construction, etc.) to ensure field sales advisors maximise their travel time and minimise mileage. This reduces time spent on the road, decreases travel costs, and improves worker safety, since they no longer need to toggle between apps while driving to determine how to get to the next customer.
Real-time updates and schedule changes
For most insurance organisations, sales advisors and consultants who spend their days in the field speaking with new and existing customers act as the operation’s profit center. The process drives new revenue, but only if it’s optimized for efficiency.
Streamlining the booking process with automated scheduling software is a great start, but insurance companies also need an intelligent field service management solution that optimises the end-to-end process. A strong solution does both; with tools that enable schedulers and sales advisors to seamlessly book and update appointments (whether in-person, via phone calls, or virtual) in real-time. Plus, it allows partners—like banks—to book appointments on their behalf for cross-selling products.
Field sales advisors have instant, centralized access to up-to-date schedules, so they can intelligently fill their diaries with high-quality leads. They’re supported by a mobile app that enables them to access notes prior to and during meetings, digitise administration, and improve their close rates. Schedulers in the back-office have a real-time, detailed understanding of advisors’ workloads, locations, and availability, so they can better accommodate and serve their customer base.
Intelligent Field Service Management for Insurance Companies
As insurance companies continue their digital transformation initiatives in an effort to optimise operations, scale growth, and boost revenue, they must implement the right tools for support. Without technology that consolidates their disparate systems and processes, streamlines the booking process, improves workforce visibility, and empowers employees to work autonomously, they’ll likely struggle to keep up with their more innovative competitors.
Skedulo’s field service management software is a flexible platform that can be used across the entire organisation. With mobile-first tools that automate scheduling, reduce time-consuming administrative tasks, optimise routing, and improve data collection for more accurate reporting, insurance companies can increase operational visibility for greater efficiency and revenue.