Shawn Christie: Reputation management improves his car insurance business
When he saw that print advertising was losing effectiveness 15 years ago, Shawn Christie decided to look for new ways to bring in business. The insurance broker turned self-taught online marketer quickly realized that review management is all the rage and began using online reputation to attract new customers. We sat down with Shawn to talk about how actively managing your reputation helps his driving his Auto Insurance Company A Plus Insurance forward.
What motivated you to actively manage your customer feedback?
It was not a singular event; it was several different factors. From when we started doing any online marketing, we’ve always encouraged reviews on different platforms, primarily on Google. But more recently what motivated us was the ability to be able to have the rich snippets in the search engine results online. This helped on a lot of different factors. Largely it was the search engine optimization benefits. But also, we recognize it helps with retention of business by having the clients engage and also helping with employee recognition because we take those reviews, and we post them on our inner office communication. This not only motivates other employees, but it also gives a nice pat on the back for the employees that did get the review. They’re not always mentioned by name but when they are it’s kind of a nice thing to be able to do that. And then of course, not to sound overly confident, but we’ve always prided ourselves on how well we take care of the client. You can always learn something from those reviews. Even when they’re positive but more so when they are negative, you can actually have a learning experience for everybody. You are able to engage the client, and to fix the problem if there was one.
Is there specific feedback, good or bad, that stood out?
Nothing very specific - but to be able to see the faces of my agents when they get mentioned by name and somebody raves immensely about the service that they’ve gotten, that’s something special. As an employer I can say good job and I can give them a pat on the back. But if they see a great review and get that public recognition – that does something for my agents that I can’t buy. It lights up their day. That’s something that is often overlooked with reviews. Utilize them for employee and staff motivation. And it changes their day.
You mentioned it briefly but - how do you deal with negative reviews? Do you respond?
Oh absolutely! We don’t get them very often but when we I almost welcome them because it’s an opportunity to accept that did something wrong and own it. That shows not only the client that you’re dealing with but also everybody else that when the systems or the processes to break down, we handle it in a quality effective manner. At first, you apologize. But you also offer to engage the client and you reach out to them. If you express that in the response to their review not only they can see that but other people can see that too.
"We try to treat people like family. And there is nothing fantastic that we are doing – we utilize technology to the best of our ability, because we do a lot of business for such a small company.
Our focus isn’t so much on the money because the money comes when you take good care of your clients. Utilizing technology, and ProvenExpert is part of that, is something that you can set and forget but you can also utilize it more actively."
How did you decide to work with ProvenExpert?
Well, I shopped around a lot. I looked at free platforms and very expensive platforms. I had a specific set of features that I was looking for. My primary one was to find a review platform that produces rich snippets. Secondly, I wanted to have shareable links so that after my agents completed the sale, they could send them out or include them in the signature line of their emails, so the clients can leave a review. Thirdly, we are very focused on all the factors that affect the ranking in search engines. I needed something that didn’t slow down my site. And the snippets or the code that we can place on our pages don’t slow down the site at all with ProvenExpert. So ProvenExpert checked all those boxes and was reasonably priced. That’s essentially why we ended up choosing ProvenExpert.
How long have you been using our platform?
Not very long, maybe 6 months. I’ve been looking for a product for a little while. Since online reviews have been around, we’ve been soliciting reviews from our clients through Google. Our six months with ProvenExpert have been very good so far!
Have you already felt an impact in the last six months?
I have. One of the things that improved is our click through rate. The basically compares the number of times your listing comes up in the search engine results to how many times it gets clicked. I chose on of our pages for one particular city, as we advertise in cities throughout the United States. The only thing I changes on the site is that I put the ProvenExpert code on there. We didn’t change anything with the meta data or the meta title or the meta description. Of course, you can’t be 100 % sure that that’s the only thing that affected the click through rate, but you can be pretty confident that that’s what impacted it. It doesn’t seem like a dramatic change, but we went from a 3.1 % click through rate to a 5.6 % click through rate. And I am not going to say that it doubled our revenues, but we have had an uptick in business. I would say a good 15 – 20 %. Improving your click through rate will then again help you move further up in the search results and even more people will click.
You said you also use other sources to generate reviews. Do you still do that?
Absolutely! Because when you’re looking at trying to rank in the search engines you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. They look at a lot of different factors as they rank as you. So we still generate our Facebook reviews – but that’s one of the nice things about ProvenExpert. They gather all of those as well so you can see those all reviews in one place. It makes it pretty simple.
Were your expectations met so far?
Yes! One of the biggest things is that the product did exactly what it said it was going to do. It was easy to set up. The placement of the code on the pages was very easy. I can put it anywhere. I can put it in the footer, I can put it in the body, and it generates what I need it to. It shows up on the page, it’s easy to track. I get emails when I do get a review and I can read them and approve that they get posted. The best thing I can say is: It does what it says which can be a rarity in these days. German engineering at its best.
You sound like a real marketing expert!
It was a lot of trial and error. You spend a lot of time reading and trying to educate yourself. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve made my share of mistakes. The knowledge doesn’t come cheaply. There are people out there that are more educated about it than I am. But you do what you can to make sure that the phone is ringing and so you can help make sure that your employees have jobs.
Thank you so much for your time! Great job and: We’re here to help you navigate through the world of online reputation whenever you need us!
You want to get behind the steering wheel and pilot your reputation like Shawn Christie?