Day 3 of HIGH-TECC is a morning session that is the true software junkie – techie overload session. What’s Great in 2008 is presented by Steve Anderson and others that he has asked to participated. Steve had Duke Williams talk about the importance of Google, AdWords positioning and pricing, etc.
Steve and the group discussed how to put live chat at your agency website and how to manage that with the agency staff. Some agencies are using this technology and shared with the group their tools and experience.
Steve showed his YouTube video that he did for HIGH-TECC. He discussed why an agency might use YouTube, how to video and add text, etc. Steve demoed his new Flip Video device and showed how simple this is to use. Think about using this device to ask a client during your next visit for a testimonial. Click on your Flip Video and capture their comments on-the-spot. Suggestions from the audience: Use the Flip Video device to create video of a producer discussing the merits and particulars of an account and send to underwriters with the marketing submission; interviews with claimants and other claims related applications; use to video a customer’s location and document with your comments; an agency could offer to clients to checkout to do a home inventory. These were all awesome ideas.
Steve & Duke discussed Walk on Video. This is us a WOW technology. You really need to click on the hyperlink for this and check it out. A great way to engage anyone visiting your website. A new way to communicate. This has so many possibilities. Check it out and get moving so you are one of the few to be first.
Steve discussed some options for using on-line vendors to handle snail mail. These could work well for an agency when they need to do large mailings. Two sites he reviewed were – postful.com and flydoc.com. On-line postage for smaller offices, remote offices for multiple location agencies and staff members working remotely should be a consideration for agencies. Look at dymo.com for various options which include Steve’s personal favorite which is the Desktop Mailing Solution. You may find this more cost effective than traditional postage options.
Next item was the iPhone and the challenges for business applications. The new 3G version of the iPhone which was recently released has Microsoft Exchange capabilities. Thus, individuals in the corporation that would prefer this phone to others will make this an issue that businesses must begin to address. The individuals in the corporation that want to use this device may just be the CEO, so saying no may not be an option IT people.
I wrote Reading Goes Digital: The Kindle for The Anderson Agency Report in the March 2008 edition. I have found practical business applications as well as many personal uses for The Kindle. Chris Kinman uses the The Reader Digital Book. From Sony. We are each passionate about our particular device. We compared such things as access to the ebooks from Sony and Amazon, how business articles in .pdf format can be downloaded to our devices and other possible business applications. I think for Chris and I both it is the ease of having access to multiple books when we travel without having to lug them all with us. Chris tells the story that on a trip he left his Sony book in the seat pocket on the plane. He was so lost without it that he went to the closest mall and purchased a new one. I feel that if this should happen to me, the same would be true. I did like the size of the Sony and the navigation keys better than the Kindle, but I like the book, magazine, newspaper, blog availability of The Kindle along with the ability to shop The Kindle Store and download books over the Amazon WhiperNet Network without a computer. My Kindle goes almost everywhere with me. I have something to read whenever there is a waiting time that I must endure. Of course, my Blackberry is also close at hand so I can communicate. What a geek.
So how do you document the client visit when you are out of the office or don’t use the agency managements system? Or how do you keep yourself and others up-to-date on reminders that you think of when not at a computer. Look at jott.com for short messages. This is a free service that records a message and then emails you or contacts per your instructions. You can also Jott to your twitter account. Look at idictate.com for recording conversations or in-depth information that needs to be retained. Also look at copytalk.com which provides you with a 4 min block and then immediately goes into another 4 minute block. I think these are great tools for producers, loss control or others visiting with clients or insurance carriers to use to transcribe meetings and things to do after the meeting. In each of these cases, the transmission can be attached to the agency management system for documentation. Imagine knowing everything that is going on with an account.
Recently Steve had a need to use InstantEstimator.com. Use this site to estimate the cost to repair your auto. Their website says: “Thanks to Instant Estimator in most cases you can get an immediate answer from the convenience of your computer. The Instant Estimator system assesses and costs your cosmetic auto body and paint damage automatically in an easy-to-use process.”
Steve is close to the end of the scheduled time for the session and still has more to share and of course, we want more. So he agrees to go on. He discussed email management. As we all know we are more and more overwhelmed by today’s email. Some of Steve’s suggestions are: turn off alerts, use outlook rules, get off distribution lists, process email as it comes in and don’t let it build up. Some questions to consider, How immediate is email? How often should you check email? How often do you need to respond to email? You should consider the number of times a day you check your email. Some resources for email management are: David Allen’s Getting Things Done & Michael Linenberger’s Total Workday Control. When requesting action from someone consider one request per email in lieu of a list of items. The request should appear in the subject line. When someone receives multiple requests in an email, either the email is put aside for later action and they may forget to respond or they may overlook one or more items in the list of requests.
Quick comments on google apps & google docs: upload word doc and invite multiple people to work on that document. Consider google wiki(s).
And the final tidbit is about evernote.com. Do you have trouble organizing that information you find on the web and you want to be able to access it later? Then when later comes you can’t find it? This website lets you capture information from the web and retains the links back to where you found it(Of course, the link might change so getting back is not always possible). You can categorize the captured information and it is searchable. There is a paid version which lets you OCR pictures and other additional features. But for those of us that capture a lot of resource information for later use, the free version sounds like a good deal. I often have a difficult time finding exactly what I am looking for in this area.
My reflection on the day: I had to miss this session last year. I do not like to miss this session. I learn so much from Steve and the other participants. I have expressed in my blog each day the amount of overload of information and today just adds to that, but WOW, what great tools and information. But I am ready to kick back, have lunch with my husband and do some therapy shopping in Vail Village.