As Thanksgiving approaches (and Q4 is underway), it’s a great time to consider things you can do – and technology you can implement – to help you save time. Below are five tools you might consider.
1. Email Automation and List Management
You can use email automation software to organize your communications with your current customers as well as prospects. For existing clients, you can automate renewal messages or a quarterly marketing newsletter. For prospects, you can tout the range of services you offer or a special, limited-time offer. (One example might be the Affordable Care Act Special Open Enrollment Window that occurs annually in November and December for coverage starting on January 1.)
Some of the most popular programs include Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, Constant Contact, ActOn, and GetResponse. Link here to an online article on “31 Best Email Marketing Automation Tools.”
FormGet published a 2018 list of the best list management services; you can read it here.
2. Form Builder/Form Submissions
Dropbox and Google both offer file hosting and file sharing services. This can help you when you need to exchange census and other data in a secure environment.
Dropbox offers three levels of service with its Dropbox for Business platform: Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise. Pricing starts at just $12.50 per month for Standard. A comparison is available here.
Google Docs, with the Google Forms add-on, allows you to create forms and share them with others. It includes smart editing and styling tools, so you can easily format text and paragraphs. You can choose from hundreds of fonts and add links, images, and drawings, too. Google docs is free. There are free and upgrade options for Google Forms. You can see a comparison summary of the free and premium editions here.
3. Live Chat/Video Chat
Chat and video-conferencing software allows you to respond quickly to clients’ questions.
A variety of live chat software applications are available, including LiveChat, Slack, LiveEngage, Comm 10 Live Chat, and others. Capterra’s comparison of these services looks at deployment, geo targeting, integration capabilities, and more. You can view the comparison here.
Skype is a popular video chat product that enables users to connect free on a computer, mobile phone, or tablet. (Both users have to use Skype. If you make calls to mobile or landlines that are not on Skype, you may want to purchase a subscription, which starts at around $3.00 a month. Premium features like voicemail and SMS texts are also subject to added fees.) Link here to learn more about Skype, which is part of the Microsoft product family.
4. Scheduling Software
Meetings are a big part of your day. Cloud-based and software solutions can help you better manage your schedule. Some are quite affordable, while others are a bit more pricey. The online review firm Software AdviceTM offers a comparison of these programs here.
Not mentioned in their comparison is Calendly, which offers calendar integration with Google, Outlook, Office 365, and iCloud calendars as well as apps like Salesforce, GoToMeeting, and Zapier (mentioned below). More information about Calendly is available here.
5. Multifunction Tools
Many multifunctional Customer Relationship Management programs are available to help you, too. Whether you’re using Salesforce, Quotit, Sugar CRM, or Zoho, each can be helpful in keeping your customer contact information up to date, generating leads, managing your calendar, and keeping track of your sales performance.
Zapier is a web-based service that allows users to integrate web apps, automate workflows, and innovate to build processes that will help you get more done. The platform offers integration with more than 1,000 apps, including Facebook Lead Ads, Slack, Intuit’s Quick Books, Google Sheets, Google Docs, and more.
As a Word & Brown broker, you also have access to three other tech tools to help you with quoting and enrollment.
WBQuote, Word & Brown’s online quoting system makes comparison-shopping easy with built-in safeguards to prevent errors. It includes customizable output, a single page executive summary, multilingual translations, Wrap quoting, and more. It delivers the industry’s only guaranteed-accurate quote for small businesses, and includes highlighted plan differences, so you and your client can quickly zero in on details like co-pays, prescription benefits, or other plan features.
Word & Brown’s new WBQuote Lite empowers you to make quoting changes on the go. You no longer have to return to your office to re-run a quote when a client makes a mistake on a census or hires a new employee. With WBQuote Lite, you can update the census and re-run a quote on the spot. You can also change an employee’s plan assignment, show your client different contribution scenarios, and drill down into rate and benefit details.
Another useful tool – exclusive to Word & Brown – is WBMedID, which gives your clients access to their Medical ID Card information on a smartphone. Your California-based clients and their employees no longer have a wait a week – or more – to get proof of insurance. When they have coverage from Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, and Health Net, they can access their Medical ID Card as soon as their coverage is approved.
The new year will be here before you know it. Check out some of these resources and judge for yourself which ones are right for you and your business.