Soft skills are becoming hip.  LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, says they are more important than coding. A Google study looked at the 8 top qualities in its employees and found soft skills ranked higher than coding and maths, which came last. But how can a property claims- handling franchisee best utilise these on-trend skills within the managerial world?

Soft Skills Within the Aspray Property Claims Management Franchise Network

Firstly, a franchisee needs to recognise what soft skills are and decide which of them they have.  Some experts will say there are seven; others argue there are 20.  Here at Aspray, we believe our franchisees need to have the core soft skills and then mutations of those, which can manifest themselves during their daily dealings.  But therein lies the need for soft skill number one, as there is no one ‘day’ in our franchisees’ lives.  Variety is what many franchisees who take up our professional property-sector franchise opportunity thrive upon.  That means, they need the soft skill of adaptability and need to be flexible in their approaches.  One property loss scenario will never be exactly like another.  You cannot run things from a script or checklist.  You are the script.

Qualifying the Soft Skills Analysis

Actually, let’s just qualify what we just said, to allow you to understand the entry point at which other soft skills need to come into play.  Our franchisees are the script in respect of their assumption of responsibility, following their responsiveness to a call for help. The moment a property owner discovers property damage and needs professional assistance with an insurance claim, our franchisee becomes their representative, their negotiator and their champion.  So, they need to have good communication and negotiation skills, they need to be able to utter that word ‘no’, in a respectful way, when discussing and negotiating a claim with the insurer’s representative in the property claim negotiation – the Loss Adjuster.  And that’s where the script can vary …

Soft Skills Analysis

Aspray Franchisees and the Art of Negotiation

An Aspray franchisee is likely to come up against the same loss adjuster many times. Whilst they need to negotiate for all their worth on behalf of their client, they also need to do this respectfully and not ruin the relationship, in the quest to strive for a policyholder’s just entitlement from their insurance cover.  Good manners and respectful behaviour, even in an argument over a particular point, are key.  Dealing with difficult and obstinate people is a must and should be done well.  Tact is often required, along with problem-solving and solutions’ generation.  And, dare we say it, you probably need a little bit of competitive spirit too, to keep driving you towards the end-goal – the moment at which your point of view wins through.

Other Soft Skills Required by Franchisees

There are two key aspects of the work that our franchisees do within the property world. We’ve discussed those based around negotiation and communication but have not considered how else good communications skills need to be deployed. This is the field of project management, as our franchisees need to be able to marshal a team of contractors, who will carry out an agreed schedule of works. 

The people they are dealing with maybe different animals from those with whom they are negotiating and different again, perhaps, from the clients they are representing. It is imperative that a franchisee can be assertive without being domineering; be motivational without getting on tradespeople’s nerves and be firm and focused on what needs to be done and by when.  There is an element of good delegation required here.  Their ‘baby’ – the property claim – has to be passed over to a team who will help rectify the damage and our franchisee needs to be able to trust the professionals to do this, without interfering too much.  It’s the art of management and direction, not hands-on engagement.

What else is required?

Being able to listen well is key, at every stage of the process. Our franchisees also need to care about each client and have an ability to empathise with them and boost their morale.  They need to be able to read people, be technologically literate and be creative at times with the solutions they put forward.  But most of all, they need to do all of this, and more, naturally and out of instinct, because that is who they are.  Square pegs in round holes will not last long and neither will those who cannot be team-players.

So how many soft skills is that?  We do not tally them up here at Aspray, because some are mutations of core skills and some develop during the course of the cases handled.  We often see franchisees start their journey with a suite of soft skills but then develop the even softer skills that fit around them.  That is growth and that is what the Aspray opportunity offers to all of its franchisees.  If you wish to test that out, just pick up the phone and call us on 0800 077 6705, to discuss the opportunity.