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CRM for Life – How a leading life insurer found the perfect provider

‘Workbooks provided a CRM solution that spared us building something from the ground up, but that’s sufficiently bespoke to meet our unique and challenging requirements – exactly what we’d been looking for but hadn’t found elsewhere. They’ve been with us every step of the way in implementing it, too.’ 

Rob Quayle, CEO, Direct Life 

 How a leading life intermediary operates 

‘Direct Life isn’t a name that most consumers will know – even when we’ve played a central role in them getting the life insurance they need,’ says CEO Rob Quayle. ‘But although they don’t know us, what we do behind the scenes is really important in making sure that once they’ve found the right product the completion of the transaction is quick, smooth and effective..’  

A provider of technology and outsource services to the life insurance industry, Direct Life serves two customer-groups: insurance intermediaries and direct customers. Whether working with financial advisors, price comparison sites or individuals, Direct Life manages data across the customer application processes, ensuring everything is acquired from the applicant, accurately recorded, and made accessible, while keeping numerous stakeholders aware of developments.  


Goals and Challenges  

The ultimate goals are a) smooth, transparent customer journeys culminating in b) successful sales of the right product, and a huge number of moving parts are involved in hitting those targets at the kind of scale Direct Life’s business partners require.  

 Further challenges are that Direct Life is bound by rigorous financial regulations, and that when handling individuals’ financial and medical information, ironclad security protocols are of paramount importance.  


Searching for the right system  

Direct Life’s CRM requirements, then, were out of the ordinary. Rather than a sales- and account-tracking tool, they needed a responsive, adaptable operations and administration service that was all about customer communications, record-keeping and recording of activities.  

 Automation was a key factor. They wanted to improve productivity by having tasks performed by software rather than people where possible.  

 Also essential was that the CRM would be able to link with their legacy systems in a seamless and predictable way, so that they could feel confident there were not going to be any nasty surprises following the transfer of operations to the new system.  

 As Quayle says: “Sometimes life insurance applications fail for valid reasons, which is unavoidable. But our job is to make sure they never fail needlessly due to procedural issues such as delays in sourcing or confirming medical records, the kinds of things that cause customers to drop off.” 

 “So maximum efficiency in how we keep information and communications flowing between all stakeholders and back to the end-user means that the minimum number of people walk away – and the maximum number of people get the insurance they need. We needed a CRM that could help us manage that customer journey to keep it smooth and reliable, as well as one that had impeccable regulatory compliance and information security built-in at every level.” 


Finding the perfect partner  

Direct Life shopped around at first but found several sticking points. One question was off-the-rack versus bespoke. Quayle explains: “We considered options including Microsoft Dynamics, which would have provided a toolkit for building our own solution, but we didn’t want to invest massive amounts of money and time in building something from the ground up, when it would be inordinately expensive and – more importantly – relatively quickly out of date.’ 

 Trust was also crucial: high on Direct Life’s list of priorities was to work with a single provider who would provide accountability and continuous, reliable service. With many CRM solutions they considered there seemed to be a number of parties involved, and Direct Life worried about both communications and accountability.  

 In the end it was those two factors above all that were decisive. Workbooks’ solution struck the perfect balance, offering: 

  • Something that could be used straight out of the box without months of costly development 
  • The adaptability Direct Life needed to handle their complex day-to-day requirements and integrate with their existing systems to maintain continuity.  


CRM business benefits from the CEO  

1. Automation – for improved staff productivity 

“We’re already seeing that the ability to automate changes to customer records and other parts of our workflow has freed-up significant time for our team to put their focus elsewhere.” 


2. Integration – for improved customer service 

“Workbooks’ API interfaces perfectly with our proprietary systems and vice versa, including the portal we offer, to enable customers to log-in and monitor the progress of their cases.” 


3. Visibility – to run the business better  

“Not only do our processes work more smoothly and automatically now, but the Workbooks system has given us totally new levels of visibility, allowing us to have a genuinely real-time understanding of our business, to see where we’re hitting the mark and where progress is needed – enabling us to drill down to  individual lines of business, types of policy, departments or employees.” 


4. Cost-effective customisation – to make the system easy to use 

“Despite our unique requirements. Workbooks met them affordably by adapting its existing system, and not only has the team been available to us to always help during the adoption process, but they continue to be there now.”