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Are you using Outlook templates?

A great way to serve more clients during the open enrollment period is to reduce the amount of time you have to spend with each one. Unfortunately, that can be difficult to do without a corresponding reduction in service. Difficult, but not impossible. What if you could save time AND provide better service to your group and individual clients?

Here’s an idea: instead of re-inventing the wheel every time you communicate with a client or prospect, use Outlook templates for emails you regularly send during the quoting, enrollment, and renewal process.

What is an email template?

Basically, an Outlook template is a pre-written email, complete with attachments that are applicable to everyone, that you can quickly send to clients using Microsoft Outlook to keep them informed or ask them to complete the next step of the process. It’s a lot easier to use a template than to start from scratch. It’s also easier than trying to hunt down a similar email you may have sent in the past so you can copy and paste the content for a new client.

For example, you could create an Outlook template for an email you send to clients with their 2019 renewal rates. Or maybe you could use a template email when you’re sending them the approval confirmation and/or welcome letter from the carrier.

One client at a time

While there are programs like MailChimp that you can use to email multiple clients or prospects at once, the idea behind a template is to create content that appears to be unique to the client but can be used again and again. Some templates might be “fill in the blank,” meaning that you have most of the wording already prepared but might need to insert the client’s name, policy number, etc. Starting with a template can drastically reduce the amount of time you have to devote to each client communication.

How to create an Outlook template

Creating an Outlook template is actually really easy. Simply write an email as you normally would, complete with a subject line and any applicable attachments. Obviously, you would not attach anything that is specific to a client, but you might attach items that are applicable to all clients to whom you’ll be sending the email. You should delete your signature line as that will pre-fill when you start a new email using the template. In the email, you might want to include a blank line or use yellow highlighting for any client-specific info that will need to be inserted later. When you are done preparing the email, click File>>Save As, and enter a name for the template (the name does not need to be the same as your email subject line). Then change the file type to “Outlook Template” and choose a location to save it, perhaps to a Templates folder.

Once you are done, you can simply launch the email from your Templates folder, insert your client’s email address, add any applicable info into the email, and add any other attachments that you need to send. It’s super quick and easy, and you’ll probably wonder why you weren’t doing this sooner.

Times when you might use a template email

You can create templates for any emails you regularly send, and those will obviously differ based on the types of products you sell. If you sell individual health plans, for instance, you might send an initial email letting the client know that you’ll have their renewal soon and that you’ll be in touch to discuss. A second email could include the client’s renewal offer with a note that you’ll get some other quotes and contact him or her when they’re ready. A third email might include the other quotes along with a plan recommendation. A fourth email could include information on supplemental insurance they might want to consider to help offset the high out-of-pocket costs on their health plan. You might send a final email when the policy has been approved (if the client is switching carriers). You get the idea.

Basically, email templates are meant to reduce the amount of writing and re-writing you have to do, so if you send an email that you think you might need to send again to another client, it’s a good idea to save it as a template.

If you haven’t used Outlook templates in the past and you do decide to give this a try, please let us know how it turns out – we’d love to know if this saves you some time.

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