Do you remember the scene from the 1996 movie Jerry McGuire, where Tom Cruise as Jerry is begging Cuba Gooding’s character to step into line and exasperatingly says “Help me, help you.” Tom Cruise’s character then storms off, and Cuba Gooding says, “See Jerry, that’s the difference between you and me. You think we’re fighting and I think we’re finally talking.” As we know, eventually they get on the same page and things work out for all. Until that point though, while their goals are the same, achieving them is thwarted by a lack of alignment.
During the recent ReSource Pro Operations Boot Camp, one of the featured sessions, “Help Me, Help You!” presented by Susan Toussaint and Frank Pennachio of Oceanus Partners, drew on this theme from the movie to show how insurance Retail Brokers service personnel are dependent on producers to “help” producers deliver on their targets. Account executives in the room described how they had no way of knowing in advance what their day would look like. “Our producers often say, ‘give them everything’ or promise services that are outside what we typically do.” This creates stress and uncertainty and makes it difficult to plan and develop efficient processes.
By improving communications between service staff and producers, alignment can be enhanced, efficiencies gained, and prospects and clients are better served. Hence, “help me, help you.” When looking at how producers work with their service teams, each of them typically has their own way of doing things. There’s often no real consistency in the sales process, even within the same agency, causing confusion, inefficiency, and extra servicing work. For example, client renewals may be handled differently from one producer to the next. Some may conduct thorough face-to-face client reviews while others simply instruct the servicing staff to renew as is.
Service teams become much more productive when they can streamline insurance processes to gain operational efficiencies, ultimately to provide a better customer experience. The key is to get the sales process in line with the servicing strategy, with producers adopting a more consistent way of doing things.
Getting your producers and service teams to talk openly with each other about their respective needs, challenges and preferences will go a long way to helping them to collaborate more seamlessly together. Ultimately, just like Jerry and Rod did.