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Thinking About the Complaint Department…

11/18/2009

After writing the post about the Complaint Department, I’ve been thinking about how powerful this can be.

As a member of our Five Star team, I have the privilege to go into agencies and ask them directly, “How do you handle complaints?” Most often, we hear that complaints are handled differently based on the  issue at hand, but typically, comsumer complaints are few and far between. Furthermore, issues are rarely with the agency, and instead lie with the carrier –how a claim was paid, how long it took, ect.

To me this says two things. 1. Agents are doing their jobs well and 2. Their reputation is in the hands of their carrier. This is not a slight on insurance carriers, but the age old disconnect is there. You, as the independent agent have the client relationship, you place the business for the client, but now your client is upset at the carrier. When will the consumer tell you that they are upset? Now? At renewal? When they ask someone else to quote it?

A lot of attention is paid to social media as a platform to promote your business and expand your relationships, but social media is foremost a place for listening. (Okay, reading the conversation.) When you start to follow people on Twitter, or read updates on Facebook, you start to see people’s frustrations over all types of things- credit card companies, water bill payments, banks…insurance companies. Like it or not your carriers have relationships with insureds also. By actively listening to clients on social networks you get the opportunity to see these frustrations as they occur and respond in the caring manner that befits your business.

Imagine you’re on Facebook and you see a few status updates about a certain carrier’s claim payout time after an ice storm. What could you do with that information?

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