Program work for restorers. Should it be embraced or avoided? What's the best way to approach it? When will I start to see the benefits? Program work isn’t going anywhere, so it’s important that you’re asking yourself these questions.
Like most things, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to consider what’s best for you, and if your business is ready to embrace this type of work. Do you have the dedicated admin support and documentation processes in place that you need? We recently sat down with four industry experts to discuss the matter in more depth. Regardless of whether you’re taking the leap or just testing the waters, the top tips that they provided will help you approach program work more strategically.
📣 Tip #1: Communicate with adjusters to bridge the gap in priorities
Problem: It seems like restorers and Managed Repair Networks have different priorities, which impacts where both parties want to pour all of their energy. Restorers take pride in serving their customers in their time of need; they want to help people and do a good job, while adjusters need proper documentation to back up the work completed. At the heart of the job, restorers are there to help their customer, and the rigorous documentation process can seem like a tedious additional step that takes time and energy away from that core goal.
Solution: Communication is key. Communicate (phone is better than email!) with the adjuster to work towards a mutual goal: providing a good service. Both of you want to get the job closed as quickly and accurately as possible, but this can only be achieved if you work together. Although the documentation process may seem like an obstacle, you need to remember to think of the adjuster as a partner, not your opponent. Open up a line of communication to build rapport with them, adjusting your tone and using humour to make it feel like a conversation rather than an argument.
🔮 Tip #2: Answer questions before they’re asked
Problem: Times are changing, and while adjusters used to physically visit job sites, this isn’t so much the case anymore. Without seeing the actual physical context of the loss, a lot is left both assumed and open to interpretation. While the restorer’s price list and requests may make perfect sense in context, without providing any, the adjuster is left in the dark, necessitating frequent questions and delays in order for them to get the full picture.
Solution: Since the adjuster rarely visits the job site anymore, it’s now up to you to bring it to them! You are now their eyes in the field, so it’s crucial that you provide them with thorough documentation that tells the story of the job. Detailed videos make the process a whole lot easier for the restorer by addressing any potential questions right from the get go. Using video in your scoping prevents misinterpretations and provides the full context of the site, so both restorers and adjusters start off on the same page, providing support and an estimate with fewer follow-up questions. Learn more about leveraging video in your reports here.
🚩 Tip #3: Learn the common pain points and address them
Problem: As a restorer starts working with a Managed Repair Network, they may find that there is some difficulty in justifying the work they’ve done. This causes frustration for both parties — for the restorers, they really need to do the work that they know is necessary without barriers, and for the adjusters, they need to know that this work and these materials are actually essential to the job.
Solution: Just like in dating, it’s important that you learn to spot the red flags! Over time, you’ll start to learn exactly where adjusters will pick you apart. Once you’re aware of these items, document them. Providing a picture and documentation of these line items helps both the restorer and the adjuster justify the necessary costs and any changes. For example, continuous items such as floors and cabinets are common red flags; these items can be really expensive for insurance companies, and thus can be more difficult to justify removing. Pay attention to the bigger ticket items, and provide the whole scope of things to justify them — it’s very helpful if you use videos that place these red flag items in context. Still not sure what the red flags are? Sit down and have a conversation with your adjuster to learn their pain points. It’s important that you do whatever you can to make their job as easy as possible — because at the end of the day, their pain points become your pain points as well.
🙅 Tip #4: Don’t throw in the towel right away
Problem: Nobody said that starting to do program work was easy. After all, your team is learning something new, and needs to adjust to a different way of operating. Communication channels have shifted. What used to be a relationship based on experience and trust can now seem impersonal. It’s easy to feel that you’re just a number on a spreadsheet, judged by a faceless reviewer behind a desk 3000 miles away.
Solution: Although program work certainly involves more rigorous documentation and is more data-driven, it doesn’t detract from your goal of providing a good service. In fact, it actually enhances this capability! All of the rules and regulations that the Managed Repair Networks — formerly referred to as Third Party Administrators (TPAs) — make you abide by act as a built in training program that improves your practices and performance over time. They provide you with the guidelines and course requirements that will keep you and your company on track and going strong. The truth is, being part of theManaged Repair Networks makes you an even better company outside of the Managed Repair Networks. Try five or six jobs under Managed Repair Networks, and then decide if they’re what’s best for your business.
📈 Tip #5: Focus on your process and high scores will follow
Problem: Getting any type of score can be nerve-wracking; this is no different with program work. Vendor programs provide restorers with scores for every single job completed, which they then put up on both a monthly and an annual basis. At your core, you’re passionate about helping your clients. You want to do a great job, helping them out, and leaving them satisfied with your work. This means that you want positive feedback to reassure you that you're doing a great job in attaining this goal. The documentation-intensive nature of program work means you aren't going to see immediate results.
Solution: Program scores are certainly important, but due to the intense documentation standards associated with program work, it won’t happen overnight. Stick to your guns, trust the process, and commit to improving efficiency day by day. Though you may feel the adjuster is always on your case, they too need sufficient justification to do their jobs. Instead of getting defensive, or upset at the adjuster, take a moment to step back and see what they really need from you. Once you’re able to provide that, you’ll be able to help both them and yourself out. It may take some time, but you will figure it out and subsequently see your score improve. Keep your eye on the prize, but pour more of your energy into the steps that you need to take to win.
Want more tips and tricks from industry experts? Learn more about growing your restoration business on program work by watching our on-demand webinar.