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The Importance of User Reviews

Over one-third of consumers regularly read online reviews before choosing a service provider, and over 50 percent occasionally read reviews. If you don't have an insurance profile on user review sites, such as Yelp, Google Places, or Angie's List, you risk being invisible to a majority of potential customers. Learn why these reviews matter for all service providers, including insurance agents, and how to improve your profile on these sites.

Why User Reviews Matter

Gone are the days of walking into the local agency or picking a provider at random from the phone book. Consumers have access to a variety of virtual and real feedback loops that make it easier than ever to solicit recommendations for any service provider. To understand why consumers have switched to selecting a provider based on user reviews, think about these reviews from the customer's perspective. Walking into a random store leaves the experience up to chance. You could luck out and receive excellent customer service or a great price, or you could worry that you were overcharged. When you walk into the same shop knowing that it has a 4/5 star rating on Yelp, you feel confident that you'll receive good service and be less stressed. Since it only requires little extra effort on your part to identify good service providers, it's easy for customers to do. If you receive bad service, you can then warn others against that business or service provider. This can irritate service providers, who would rather problems be brought to management attention instead of being aired publicly. Agencies that can rise to the challenge will be rewarded with praise and referrals.

How to Stand Out on User Review Sites

To stand out from your competitors, you must have a profile on user review sites and earn good reviews by providing the highest level of customer service. Start by creating agency profiles on user review sites. Solicit customer reviews with a sign on the counter, a link in your email signature, or a verbal ask. Customers are self-motivated to review when they've had a bad experience. Often, simply asking will lead customers who do use review sites to log on and write a good review of your agency. Monitor feedback on review sites. Reply to positive reviews with a message of thanks. Use negative reviews as learning opportunities. Reach out to customers for feedback and see whether there's a way to actively make things right after the fact. Doing this regularly will boost your level of service online and in person, where it matters most.

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