Are people talking about your insurance agency online? If the thought makes you cringe, you may need to manage your online reputation. The online world is a place where people are there to chat about what makes them happy and what makes them furious. If your insurance agency gets on someone's angry side, that anger could be shared all over the internet. How can you navigate this busy online social network and have people speak enthusiastically about your business, rather than only expressing their frustrations online?
Stick With Tradition
How do you sell insurance for decades? You provide a strong product, but most of all, you provide exceptional customer service. When you're building and managing your reputation, consider what you've always done: how you create connections with your clients, how you educate clients on their options, and how you show practicality and compassion. Think about your insurance policies and how you articulate those clearly and upfront to your clients so that they know about their coverage and its limits. Even if you're operating in an online world now, all of the traditional ways to connect with your clients still apply.
What's Different in Online Customer Service?
In the past, someone who had a perception of poor customer service might have complained to their friends the next day. Today, that same person can go online immediately, send out a post, and have friends, friends of friends, and complete strangers share that post all over the internet. That person can also write reviews that will stay on an online review site, and you can't take them off. While online business has made it faster to communicate with customers, it has also made word of mouth more far-reaching than you could ever have imagined decades ago.
According to Reputation Management, "92 percent of consumers worldwide trust earned media like word-of-mouth or recommendations above all other forms of advertising." Word of mouth isn't something that you can ignore; it's the most powerful way of selling your insurance agency's services or driving people away.
Managing and Growing Your Online Reputation
How, then, can you take the reins of your online reputation and make sure that it reflects the outstanding service that you provide to your clients?
Take the initiative to share positive stories that celebrate your clients and your community. On your social media sites and website, highlight stories that showcase the good that your partners and clients are doing.
Highlight the work that you do in the community. Whatever projects make you proud, make sure that your online community knows about them and can share them.
Engage your clients and community partners in sharing online. For instance, if you hold a community volunteer event, create a photo booth that allows your clients to pose and post photos online.
Ask your satisfied clients to review you online. Send them an email followup that lets them know how important this is for your business, and give them the links to review sites.
Make sure that you keep the lines of communication open, and do so online as well as offline. From chats to texts to email, keep on top of your communication with your clients so that any unhappiness does not turn into a post online about your lack of communication skills.
Keep track of what's going on with your online reputation. Watch social media sites, hashtags, and get alerts when your name shows up online. That way, you can head off questions and concerns before they spiral out of control.
Follow up with unsatisfied clients, even those who have already posted online. Don't argue with them in an online forum. Make sure that your responses to online posts are reasoned and professional and talk about taking action. Sometimes, a negative post online can make your business look good if you respond to it in a manner that is comprehensive, compassionate, and professional.
Most importantly, be aware of your reputation online and offline. According to The Balance, this means that as a manager of an independent insurance agency, you remember "that you are never off and that you need to treat all people with courtesy and respect – not just the customers that are in front of you." If people see you as a good person who tries to help others, they will be more likely to give you a second chance if there is a single poor review posted online.
Are you looking for a connection with other insurance agencies? Are you wondering how to sell insurance or how to do it better? At American Agents Alliance, we work with independent agencies like yours to connect you with resources and with each other. Our annual Alliance Convention helps you learn about the latest issues in the insurance world. Contact us to learn more about how American Agents Alliance can help your insurance agency grow.