If you’re a brokerage principal, commercial lines manager or producer, I’m sure you’ve “done your time” when it comes to data entry. You started as a junior marketer, or as a one-person office. You’ve typed millions of words and numbers into emails, submissions, renewal letters, certificates and invoices. You are done. You also have other priorities now.
What if I told you that data entry is a life sentence, or 25-years-minimum for good behaviour? If you’re working in commercial lines, there’s no real escape. To quote W. Edwards Deming, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and consultant, “In God we trust. All others must bring data.”
In fact, you’re still doing data entry and don’t even realize you’re doing it. For example, have you?
- Entered an insured’s phone number or contact information into a broker management (BMS) or commercial management system (CMS)?
- Categorized an account as new business, new from existing business or renewal?
- Issued an invoice or credit note?
Dictionary.com defines data entry as, “the job of entering text or other data into a computer, as by typing on a keyboard or scanning a document.” That means if you’ve done that or performed one or more of the examples listed above, that makes you a data entry person.
Are you minding the gaps?
As managers and brokerage principals, you’ve earned the right to do whatever you want when it comes to data entry. You’re well within your rights to spell things wrong, leave fields blank and so on.
After all, someone should be going back to fix it. Does someone have time to fix it? Are they saying they fixed it when they didn’t? Are they fixing the same things repeatedly?
Bad habits—no matter who does them, significantly affect the quality of your data. Keep in mind that gaps in data entry and data entry errors affect managers and brokerage principals the most because it makes it impossible to use that data to determine:
- what happened?
- why did it happen?
- what is expected to happen?
- what should we do?
To fill those gaps, focus on one key data field at a time. For example, if you want to start tracking availability of CSRs during high renewal months, make sure a CSR is assigned to each account on your BMS or CMS. You’ll be surprised how quickly the gap narrows, allowing you to move onto other things.
Are you falling to the level of your systems?
As Steve wrote in his blog, How we fell to the level of our system (and recovered), our workflows and processes for handling customer support incidents were a free-for-all. Some incidents where handled offline, resulting in no record of an incident being filed, or an incident was closed with remarks like “fixed it.”
Furthermore, when the time came for us to analyze the volume of support incidents and who was handling them, our results were inconclusive. It became obvious we weren’t using the right tools to extract and manage our data accurately.
If you’d like to learn more about how we recovered, let’s talk!
Why does it matter?
Because way down in the pit of your stomach, when you’re looking at data that’s inaccurate, you’ll know. It’ll bug you and it should bug you. Your data is one of your most valuable assets and like anything that gets ignored, the more worthless it becomes.