To customers, agency owners, financial specialists and agency staff are Allstate. These are the trusted advisors people turn to for guidance on how to protect their homes, vehicles and other personal property as well as how to manage their life insurance and retirement investment needs. They are the partners our customers seek out when disaster strikes. And they are entrepreneurs who take an outsized role in their communities, dedicating their time, money and knowledge to making life better in towns all across America.
Relationships with agencies drive customer satisfaction
Agency owners and financial specialists are the public face of Allstate, living and working alongside customers in local neighborhoods, leveraging their knowledge and experience and supporting their communities through volunteering and giving. When they are empowered with the right support, the right culture and the right technology, they are a powerful force for good. Moreover, they are critical to our success in serving customers. Surveys tell us, that no other factor is as important to customers’ satisfaction as regular, positive interaction with their local agency. They are the trusted advisors who can provide guidance, solutions and options to all kinds of risk management and financial challenges.
Agency satisfaction is strong and growing
Each year, we conduct an Agency Relationship Survey to give agency owners and financial specialists an opportunity to share anonymous feedback about how they perceive their business relationship with Allstate. In 2013, our survey found that overall satisfaction increased from 2012 levels by 20 points among exclusive agencies to 75 percent and by 2 points among exclusive financial specialists to 74 percent.
Supporting agency productivity and well-being
In 2013 we worked to increase overall agency capacity and efficiency through enhanced technology offerings. One of the major initiatives on that front is eAgent. This online agency management system gives agency owners a more holistic view of their business, as well as the ability to offer more tailored household solutions to customers. With more than 80 percent of Allstate agents signed up for the tool by the end of 2013, eAgent is the definitive on-the-go, go-to technology, designed to streamline information and resources agencies need to take their operations from transactional to being a trusted advisor.
Agency owners and financial specialists also participated in companywide well-being programs, with 650 participating in the Energy for Life seminars, which promote balance and energy management.
Diversity helps us serve diverse customers
We approach the appointment of diverse agency owners and financial specialists with the same vigor we approach employee diversity. Among Allstate agency owners, more than 24 percent are women and nearly 20 percent are minorities. We actively promote a greater agency presence in areas with fast-growing multicultural populations.
Agency owners are engaged in their local communities
Agency owners and financial specialists are actively involved in our volunteering and giving programs, supporting their communities by advocating for safe teen driving, help for domestic violence victims and many other causes.
The Allstate Against Abuse Team is a growing network of select Allstate agency owners, personal financial representatives and employees. These individuals use their own professional expertise, along with materials and resources provided by The Allstate Foundation, to help local domestic abuse survivors achieve their financial goals and escape bad situations. This year participation in the team increased by 30 percent to 4,300 Allstaters.
Our focus going forward will be on creating new, more centralized education for agency owners and their staff, not just when they join the company, but as an ongoing process, when it best meets their needs. Allstate’s agency operations team is currently reviewing its own education programs and gathering information on best practices at other companies to develop cutting-edge educational resources that can best position agency owners to succeed.
Allstate is also exploring ways to recruit veterans to its agency sales team, developing the education and support to enable those who have served in the military to become agency owners. The program is starting in pilot phase in 2014 and, if successful, will expand in later years.