Three Ways to Move Out of the CSR Slump



You’ve fallen into that “CSR slump” and you’re not quite sure when it happened or how. Everyday it’s the same old thing: Answer the phone, type a pink card, issue a binder, request an endorsement, abeyance and repeat. Then repeat once more. The song, “The Thrill is Gone” has become an earworm.

I used to be a CSR and I know this feeling all too well. Believe me when I tell you things can change and change for the better, but only if you want it to. Change starts and ends with you. If your gut is telling you it’s time to make a change, you’re probably right. But in order to move onwards and upwards, you’ll need to grab the attention of management.

However, prancing around in a unicorn costume is not the attention I’m talking about. If you want to be taken seriously, you need a serious plan. Based on my experience, here’s a few steps you can take to get noticed by management:

1. Do something innovative outside of your job description. Show them you’re capable of doing management material stuff like:
  • Finding a solution for a problem. If you developed a really good workflow or work around show it to your team leader or commercial lines manager and take credit for it.

  • Owning up to your mistakes. Take responsibility for a mistake as soon as it’s made and do your best to fix it. Don’t let it fester and never blame someone else. Only you can prevent it from turning into a huge problem that’s going to haunt you down the road.

  • Looking at the brokerage as a whole, not only how something affects you. Managers make decisions that involve major change like adopting new technology. Rather than looking at it as a chore or one more thing for YOU to take on, embrace it. Become a “super-user,” someone that knows the software inside-out and teaches others how to use it effectively. This instantly makes you a choice candidate for a more senior role like trainer or office administrator.

2. Apply for internal postings that interest you, even if you don’t have all the qualifications. Ask any HR person and they’ll tell you they never hire a person based on education or skill sets alone. Cultural fit, the ability to work well with others and willingness to learn topple honour roll memberships 99% of the time.

However, if the job posting says you must have a CAIB or CIP designation, you should have that or at least be working towards it.

3. Talk to your HR department or commercial lines manager. I know that sounds obvious but to move forward, you have to pluck up some courage and make the first move. I don’t recommend going in cold, know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. Instead of saying, “I’ve fallen into a gigantic slump and I’m bored silly” frame the conversation by starting with, “I’m interested in taking on a more active role as a (insert role here). Do you think I’ve have the potential to be a strong candidate for that position?” If they say no, ask what would they like to see from you and which direction you should take from there.

Finally, it’s critical to know your comfort zone and to set attainable targets. For example, it’s not impossible to go from CSR to President of the brokerage but not possible in six months, unless you won the lottery. Plan your moves in manageable increments and celebrate every accomplishment, large and small. By doing this, your motivation level will be much higher and you’ll see that you pulled yourself out of that slump all by yourself and with a little help from me, of course.


Topics: Training, Workflow, Best practices