Yesterday I had an interesting discussion with a client of mine. We’ve been working for some time to implement various efficiencies to ultimately enhance agency profitability. These initiatives include a variety of new marketing approaches, expansion of production staff, streamlining of workflows along with the necessary re-training and auditing of the service staff. Anyway, yesterday’s conversation reaffirmed for me the saying – “the devil is in the details.” And, since my responsibility IS the details, I’m now the devil to this client!
Lots of “details” have to come together to make most anything work properly. In addition, all of the players need to understand the significance of those details. I’m an advocate for assigning responsibilities, setting SMART* goals, regularly reviewing the appropriate benchmarks and building a forum for effectively communicating the results and/or shortcomings to all of the stakeholders. Basic business, right? Nope, devilish details.
The situation I encountered yesterday started out innocently enough. “Could you add the XYZ company’s information to the agency intranet?” was the request. My response was “Is this a new direct appointment or a brokerage arrangement?” The answer – “a direct appointment”. From there, the conversation escalated into a heated discussion about “the details”.
To set the agents in the office up for success with this new carrier – with proper access, effective workflows including and understanding of Real Time and Download capabilities, proper agency management system setup, etc. I needed the details! Apparently, during the appointment process, these items were not deemed important enough to discuss. This seemed to fly in the face of all we’d been working for years to accomplish.
The lesson: “Whatever one does should be done thoroughly; details are important.” This statement appears in the description of the saying – the devil is in the details - and it pretty much sums it up.
Be sure to include the “devils” who can sort through the details. This simple act of communication and collaboration can eliminate furture errors, omissions, bottlenecks, confusion and frustration for all involved.
*SMART = Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound