Did You Just Hire the Wrong Person for Your Insurance Agency? 3 Things You Don’t Want in a CSR

Did you know that your customer service representative (CSR) is directly tied to the profitability of your insurance agency? Hiring TipsThe fact is, a good CSR is a vital member of your team when it comes to nurturing new business opportunities and retaining existing policyholders. But hiring the wrong CSR can adversely affect an agency’s profits and good reputation. Here’s what you don’t want in a CSR and what to watch for when determining the right person for the job.

Someone who isn’t a people person. CSRs come in contact with a wide range of people, personalities and situations over the phone, in person and on the computer. Because of their personal contact with clients and prospects, CSRs must enjoy helping people and have experience working with a variety of personalities — a critical component to the retention of accounts.

CSR hiring tip: Being a people person isn’t a skill but a trait, which is why it can be difficult to observe in a person during an interview. What you want in a good people person is someone who looks and listens for subtle clues about a customer’s current mood, patience level and personality to help keep interactions positive.

When determining candidates for the job, you should consider passing over a person who is unable to respond positively to questions — for example, telling a walk-in customer that the agent isn’t available.

Not-so-positive language: “The agent is out of the office and can’t see you today.”

Positive language: “I’m sorry, but the agent is out of the office this afternoon on appointments. May I take a message or make an appointment for you? What’s a good day/time?”

Someone who isn’t a problem solver. A CSR often deals with difficult people, which is why a good candidate should be someone who is creative, flexible and helpful when solving problems. For example, if a CSR can’t answer a billing question for a policyholder or assist with the status of a claim, then he or she should quickly and decisively look for the next possible best solution. This could mean calling the claims department for answers or getting a billing service representative on the phone to help.

CSR hiring tip: Ask candidates how they would handle a specific issue, such as an angry insured demanding to know why their auto policy renewed at a higher premium. A potential new hire who visibly shuts down and appears uncomfortable may have difficulty handling sticky billing issues or other customer support queries. You might even consider administering a written test to determine how a potential hire handles customer issues via email, chat or the agency’s help desk.

Someone who doesn’t want to learn. It’s important for CSRs to want to learn and grow their skills as a professional in your agency. This can include learning how to file a claim on behalf of an insured, taking information for a quote, or presenting cross-selling opportunities to policyholders.

CSR hiring tip: Individuals who don’t show a willingness to learn will only do the very minimum of what is asked of them. Ask candidates whether they have an interest in learning more about insurance and your agency. Those who want to learn more will demonstrate a genuine interest, often by asking for more information.

Hiring the ideal CSR may not be easy, but completing your CE requirements can be with FastrackCE. Now you can conveniently get all your CE credits completed in one place — including state-mandated courses such as ethics, flood, long-term care and annuity training. For more information, call 800-544-3605 or visit us at fastrackce.com.

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