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We are living in the world of the Internet, whether you want to or not.  The level of control consumers have over insurance agencies and their brands is incredible. Studies show conclusively that consumers continue to rely heavily on review sites when deciding to buy anything.

Marketing in the insurance space is highly competitive and the market is saturated with marketing material like traditional TV ads, (for example the Lizard and Flo) to mobile applications. Consumers rely upon the experience of customers from a particular agency and/or a company but they also react to how a particular company describes itself. This means you can not take your agency’s reputation or its image lightly.

The obvious question is “What are insurance agencies supposed to do when they have negative reviews that are posted out there in the internet world?”  It is widely known that these adverse reviews travel fast – real fast. But the question is, how do you get these negative reviews removed? Well, you can’t in most cases.  A better question to ask is “How do we address the issue that caused a bad review?”  It’s always better to know if you and/or your agency made a mistake that upsets your client. Don’t run from the issue.  Hit it right in the face by addressing the issue in a professional manner so the internet world sees you as both professional and human.  By ignoring it, you will have real issues and it will turn out way worse for you and your online reputation.

Let’s remember that online reviews act as word-of-mouth recommendations that either lure or drive away consumers from certain insurance agencies and their brands. It is undoubtedly true that word-of-mouth is the most credible form of advertising. It means that insurance agencies need to respect the power of individual consumers’ online responses, as they have the ability to influence hundreds, if not thousands, of other potential prospects.

Here at Paradiso Insurance, we feel that the simplest way to handle negative comments is to respond directly to the accusations, outlining what happened while keeping it short and non-confrontational.  Ask to have a private meeting or phone call with the person. Never neglect, run, or ignore adverse reviews as it can spell disaster for your long term reputation.  It’s much easier to just address the issue right away.

At the same time, your insurance agency should not try and cover it up by offering unconvincing explanations or, even worse, getting into a yelling match online. At the end of the day, buyers might find out your negative strategy and you will look even worse than you already did.

It is agreed that no agency or business can satisfy the expectations of every customer they encounter. A sense of transparency and uprightness is the key to preserving your reputation, both online and in your community.

There are different social media tools like Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts, and Twitter that can inform you of any mention made of you and/or your agency online. You can take advantage of such tools and promptly respond to comments, whether they are positive or negative.  The key is to respond to them, don’t ignore them!

This type of prompt response puts your agency and/or your personal brand more in control of the message broadcasted and prevents bad reviews from snowballing into a really bad situation.

Since there are a variety of social media platforms that allow reviews, it is essential that your insurance agencies regularly search for their brands to make sure that their public perception is good and, if it is not, develops a strategy to fix it right away.  Agencies can maintain a positive online reputation when they instantly know what consumers are saying about them.  It allows them to instantly react to adverse criticisms. Good luck with your agency reviews because, in today’s world, they matter to your agency’s bottom line!