5 Tasks to Make You a More Valuable Auto Damage Appraiser Today
When I interviewed Amanda Hughes of the Doan Group, (Listen to the podcast interview above) she repeatedly said that communication was the number one thing that makes an appraiser good and that will set them apart from other appraisers.
She didn’t leave it at this theory of “communication,” she also gave practical examples of how Doan (and I assume other IA firms) would like appraisers to communicate with them.
I thought I’d make a list and give you 5 practical tasks you could start doing today to make you a more valuable auto damage appraiser.
1. Status “File Received”
As a previous dispatcher, I can tell you it drives a dispatcher crazy wondering if the appraiser you just assigned the claim will actually check their email and take action on the file. We’d rather not wait two days to find out you are not available to complete the claim, but we also don’t want to have to call you every time we assign a claim.
Make the dispatchers job easier by simply adding the status to the file, “File Received” upon receiving a new assignment. If the dispatcher sees that you are consistent with this, they will relax, love you for it and probably assign you more files.
2. Status Your Files Everyday
Part of being an auto damage appraiser is managing your open claims. I challenge you to start your morning off dedicated to adding a status to all your files across the different IA firms.
I did this consistently in my local claim days and I always was glad I did. Even if you copy and paste your previous status, it will reassure the company that you are aware of the file and that the situation has not changed.
This will help you by eliminating a lot of phone calls and help you not forget about a claim. It really doesn’t take that long, you just need to do it. Trust me it will help!
3. Answer Your Phone
As a national operations manager, I counted that I received over a hundred phone calls a day on a regular basis. As an auto damage appraiser, it wasn’t much better and it can physically make you sick when you hear your phone rings.
(side note, try changing your ring tone. I change mine if I start to feel sick when I hear my phone ring. I’ve ruined some great songs by making them a ring tone, but I’ve given better customer service)
I challenge you to pick up your phone and answer it as much as humanly possible during the work day. People want to talk to a person. I’ve received more compliments about me answering my phone, than anything else I’ve done. People know you are busy and respect when you value them enough to answer the call.
4. Document What the Owner Says
Many times we are in such a hurry that what the owner of a vehicle says to us goes in one ear and out the other. Make sure you write down and document what the owner says.
The owner of a vehicle will feel very frustrated if their concerns go unheard. The inside adjuster will be frustrated when they get a call from the owner who is stating they already explained this to the appraiser. Questions, concerns, or explanations of the accident, write it down.
5. Respond to Emails
We’ve all done it, ignored the supplement request, forgotten about it, lost it in the pile of email etc. We get SO MANY emails each day and it can be overwhelming to keep up with everything.
Just like creating a “file received” status. Responding to an email and set the expectations of when you will address the issue and it will eliminate future problems and complaints. People want to know that you are working on their issue.
You may be saying, “Now all of this is great advice Chris, but how in the world am I going to keep track of all of this?”
Great question and to answer it in full would probably take a whole other article, but I’ll give you a short answer.
If you like using phone apps (I do and it saves me) download Trello. It’s an app that allows you to organize and manage almost anything! It does great with task management. Each time you receive a call make a new card (basically a virtual sticky note) in Trello in your to-do column, each email you receive that requires a future action create another card so on and so forth.
If you are more traditional with pen and paper simply get a Moleskin or other small style notebook to carry in your pocket wherever you go. Write down a to do task every time you get a call or email and the notes that the owner of the vehicle stated to you.
Keep walking your path.
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