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Smart Plays: Review Management
The Smart Plays blog is devoted to helping you grow your business with digital marketing. We’ll take a close look at topics such as local listings, SEO, leveraging social media, and more. Watch for new content four times per year in our email newsletter, Smart Plays Quarterly.

As the name suggests, review management entails promoting the positive reviews your business receives and responding tactfully to negative ones. For your agency, it’s all about being part of the online conversation customers are having about your business—and making sure you can leverage that conversation to boost your digital reputation.

Understanding Review Management

When your agency is more easily found in online search results for local insurance agents, you’ll be well on your way to engaging with more customers and bringing in more business. Ideally, customers who interact with you will be willing to complete an online review of your business—and that’s where review management comes in.

If you’re not quite sure where to start with local search, refer back to our first Smart Plays edition for local search insights and guidance. If you’re ready to jump into the next step with review management, let’s get started!
Because it’s so commonplace for customers to consult online reviews when searching for a business, a proactive review management strategy is important to your overall digital marketing plan. If reviews from your satisfied clients display in a local search, you’ll potentially increase the likelihood of prospective customers reaching out to you.

Why review management is important

Customers are likely to associate your responsiveness to online reviews with your overall responsiveness and level of customer service. If you’re clearly engaged with your customers and well-informed about your agency’s strengths and areas of opportunity, you’re giving customers strong examples of why they may like to do business with you.
Another way to think about review management, particularly with positive reviews, is simply as free marketing for your agency. Of course you appreciate when a customer recognizes your expertise and hard work to earn their business, but keep in mind that you can also use their testimonial to encourage others to do the same.
Even negative reviews offer a unique opportunity for your business, so it’s important not to be fearful of less-than-ideal feedback. When you respond to negative reviews gracefully and thank those customers for the chance to do better in the future, others who read those reviews are likely to respect how you interact with others. Reasonable customers who share a negative review can allow you to respond with consideration online, and allow you to be adaptable offline where there may truly be opportunities to grow.
It’s clear that review management matters to your agency’s online image. Think about the bigger picture: when positive reviews are prominently displayed, your business looks even better, and you broaden your potential customer base thanks to staying relevant in local search.

You can manage your reviews personally or work with a vendor solution depending on what makes the most sense for your agency. Whatever path you choose, be sure to spend some time thinking through how to incorporate online review management into your digital marketing workflow.
We’ll continue to share insights through future editions Smart Plays, your exclusive blog from the Progressive Agent Digital Playbook, so you can sharpen your marketing skills while planning for the road ahead.

Consumers read reviews when looking for an agency to contact for a quote. Reviews also factor into Google’s search result rankings. In this play sheet, you’ll learn how to get started with managing your reviews so you can put them to work for your agency.

Get Started with Online Review Management
     download pdf

What it is:

Online review management is the process of soliciting, monitoring, and acting upon customer reviews of your agency. These reviews might be generated across multiple sites, including Google. The goal of online review management is to enhance and protect your agency’s reputation. It can also be a powerful, proactive marketing activity.

Why it's important:

Managing customer reviews is critical, especially if you market your agency online. Consumers read reviews when deciding where to spend their money. Google uses reviews when considering how to rank a business in its search results.

According to marketing firm BrightLocal, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses. Another 68% say positive reviews make them more likely to choose a particular local business. But most insurance agencies only have a few reviews.

How to do it:

  1. Respond to online reviews—Say thank you to positive reviewers for sharing their feedback. Respond as quickly as possible to the negatives. Be empathetic and open to legitimate feedback. When possible, refer the reviewer to your customer service specialists, who may be better equipped to address complaints and solve problems. Google has instructions on how to be notified when someone posts on your business profile.

  2. Ask for reviews—Many agencies do a great job of delighting customers, yet few have a lot of reviews. The way to get more reviews is to ask for them! This can happen verbally at the point of sale. Better yet, include the request in a post-sale/service follow up email or text message. Link customers directly to your Google My Business profile. Google has instructions on how to create a review link.

  3. Use reviews as a marketing tool—Incorporate positive reviews into your hardcopy and electronic sales materials, including your website. These reviews help build trust and validate your agency’s key marketing messages.

Should you handle review management on your own, or hire an expert vendor to do it for you? Learn the pros and cons of each approach so you can decide which is best for your agency.

DIY or Vendor – Which option is best for managing online reviews?

Learn more about determining the best solution for your agency when it comes to managing customer reviews online.

In today’s digital world, having a strong online presence is a critical component to business success. Beginning to manage your business’ online reputation can seem like a daunting task with the numerous platforms available for customers to leave reviews or provide feedback. Do you monitor reviews yourself? Or do you hire a service to tackle feedback?

There are plenty of tools and resources for both options, but it comes down to determining what’s right for your business.

For the do-it-yourselfer

DIY review management is a cost-effective way to stay on top of your brand’s online reputation. All you need is a basic understanding of best practices and the assistance of some free online tools.
Where to begin?
One of the simplest ways to monitor online mentions of your brand is with Google Alerts. With Google Alerts, you to choose to be notified by email whenever someone mentions your business online. allows you to create an alert that will email you whenever someone mentions your business online. It makes it quick and easy to stay on top of any news regarding your brand. And the best part? It’s free for anyone with a Google account.

Though Google Alerts isn’t as in-depth as some pay-to-play services, it’s a great place to start for anyone seeking to take on review management for themselves.
Best practices for DIY
Now that you’ve established a way of monitoring mentions of your business, let’s look into some practices that can help monitor your online reviews.
  1. Go ahead and ask your customers. Get comfortable with asking your customers to review your business, and make sure your staff get comfortable with doing it as well. The key is to make sure you’re consistently asking and at a time that seems appropriate in the customer journey. In some cases, it may be immediately following the interaction, while in others, it may make more sense to follow up in a few weeks.
  2. Make it simple to leave a review. Instead of sending your customers into the wild without a guide, provide them with a tangible resource for providing feedback. This could be by including links to your social media channels in your email signature, creating a scannable QR code, emailing or texting links to your Google My Business Reviews page, or even providing a hardcopy form.
  3. Always follow up. Whether the review is positive, negative, or nonexistent, be sure to follow up with every customer. Thanking someone for a positive review will further build on your reputation. Addressing any negatives will help you understand your opportunities for improvement while demonstrating your brand’s commitment to customer satisfaction. For those who don’t leave a review on the first ask, it can’t hurt to give them a gentle reminder. Research shows us that 68% of customers will leave a review if asked.
  4. Spread the good word. Now that you’ve collected these reviews, share them with your customers. One simple way to do this is to direct them to the reviews section of Google My Business and social media pages. Or you can add a testimonials page to your website, where customers can see all your reviews in one, convenient place.

For those looking to hire a vendor

If DIY review management isn’t for you or if you find yourself limited on time, you can always opt for a vendor to help. Vendors offer a variety of approaches to review management, from collaborating with your business to handling everything on your behalf.
Leave the heavy lifting to Lift Local
When you’d rather avoid the guesswork all together, Lift Local is here to help. Their team of industry experts starts by gathering customer feedback and insights into how people are searching for your business. Once they’ve determined this, Lift Local gets to work generating more positive reviews in those search places. The more positives reviews, the higher the placement on search engines such as Google.
You can request a demo from Lift Local to see how they can drive growth for your business through review management or any of the other marketing solutions on offer.

So what'll it be?

Whether you decide to take on the task of managing online reviews yourself or if you’d prefer to work with the experts, there’s no right or wrong solution. It’s up to you and what works for your agency, budget, and capacity.
  DIY Hire a Vendor
  • Cost-effective option
  • Can use free online tools
  • Less time-consuming option
  • Leverage expertise: services that do this for clients across multiple industries
  • More time consuming: requires someone to handle regular monitoring
  • Fewer capabilities: free tools are somewhat limited
  • Greater monetary investment

Check out some interesting stats about how consumers are using reviews to make purchase decisions.

Recently, our digital marketing partner, DAC presented a webinar focused on how you can do a few simple things today to make local search drive more leads to your agency and how ListAgent can help your agency be found when consumers are searching.

Grow business using Local Search with ListAgent

This informative webinar will cover:

  • How local search can drive leads for insurance agencies

  • The importance of Google My Business

    • How to have better visibility on Google Maps

    • How to increase calls to your agency

    • ListAgent reports help manage your Google My Business account

    • Which GMB features agencies should be utilizing

  • How the ListAgent Program can help your agency keep on top of all of the above to ensure you’re maximizing your online presence

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