Allan Kaplan runs Kaplan Insurance in Wappingers Falls, NY. His agency is a full service, independent agency selling homeowners, business and recreational insurance. He used GatherUp (formerly GetFiveStars) for over a year and joined as part of a pilot program for insurance agents. Allan gave us this interview via Skype in late October, 2015 as part of our Customer Spotlight series.
Insuring A Stronger Online Reputation
Allan Kaplan used GatherUp (formerly GetFiveStars) for over one year to connect with his customers, get customer feedback and build online reviews. In that year Allan increased his number of online reviews to over 40 (15 on Google alone), and received feedback from over 380 customers.
The Kaplan Insurance Agency established a Net Promoter Score of 89 over the year, an excellent score and well above the insurance industry average of 26. Let’s look at what Allan has to say about using GatherUp.
Mike: Please tell us about yourself.
Allan: Good afternoon. My name is Allan Kaplan. It’s Kaplan Insurance Agency, and I am an independent insurance agent located in the Hudson Valley which is in Wappingers Falls, New York, upstate New York, about 60 miles North of New York City.
Mike: Is it a competitive market?
Allan: It’s a very competitive market. I think anything in New York is competitive and the closer that you get to Manhattan, the more competitive it gets.
Mike: Could you describe when you get some negative feedback, how you handle it internally?
Allan: Well, fortunately for us, I haven’t received a lot of negative feedback. But the negative feedback that we have received, we get back in an email so I’m able to tackle it very quickly. What I also feel is that, getting it back to us before it gets out of hand. So, the customer hasn’t left me yet to go to a competitor. They’re basically letting us know that there’s an issue out there, there’s a problem.
So, this way I can call them, address it, find out what the problem is and see if we can get it corrected and move on from there. And I can say that a hundred percent so far, that we’ve been able to address it, call the customer, and find out what was wrong. Whether with us, was it the insurance company, was it the claims?
We’re just trying to figure out…was it billing? There could’ve been several different things and a lot of times, we’re not even aware of it because it’s not…even though it’s our customer, they’re dealing direct sometimes with the insurance company. So, we were able to find out what the problem was and get it addressed and fixed.
Mike: How do you leverage positive feedback in your organization?
Allan: Yes, it’s been great. So, we’ve been getting a very good response on our feedbacks and they come to us in an email format. So, what I normally do is then I will share that information in our weekly or monthly sales meeting and we get a lot of feedback for my employees, if they did a nice job. And the feedback will say, “Hey,” for example, “Josh was my salesman and he did an excellent job. We love Josh” or whoever it might be.
So, I want to share that information, that positive feedback, so they can see that the job they’re doing really matters, and also that we are sending this feedback. We want to know from our customers how we stand, and it’s been very helpful. And also, at that point, I’m sending an email back to the client stating that, “Thanking them for the response. We really appreciate it.”
Mike: What do you like about the feedback that you get using GatherUp (formerly GetFiveStars)?
Allan: Yeah. So first, the feedback is giving us…so, if customers are seeing it, whether it’s on the website or if they’re seeing more than stars, what does stars mean? So, it gives more of a feedback, letting our clients know or somebody else that’s looking on the internet about us that, “Hey, we’ve got X amount of feedbacks. Here’s what they’re saying about us.” So, this is what…this is more than what a star is. This is what it means to us.
Mike: You’re in a not a very sexy industry, I’m afraid to say, and it’s one where there’s not a lot of reviews normally on Google and Facebook. How have you been doing on the review front since you started using the product?
Allan: Actually, we’ve been doing very well. I mean, we would like to do better, of course. But if I look at my competitors and go on Google now, and I see the local listings and we see that we have, I think we might be over 12 reviews now in the past year on Google. Plus, we incorporated Facebook so now we also have a few on Facebook.
*Kaplan Insurance now has 15 reviews on Google and 24 reviews on Facebook.
It really means a lot when people are starting…they’re looking online, they see stars and now that they can actually read reviews, I think it’s really important. I know myself, different industries, if I’m going to a restaurant or if I’m looking at different industries, I’m looking at reviews and what they’re saying. And I think it makes a difference in determining which way I’m going to go if I’m looking online, which phone call am I going to make?
Mike: How do you compare to your local competitors on the review front?
Allan: It’s incredible. I don’t think there’s anybody, there’s nobody even close. The last I looked, there was a couple other competitors that are local that have a few reviews, and that was just recently. So before that, they had zero reviews and I have a dozen.
Mike: What would you tell another insurance agent that was considering using GetFiveStars?
Allan: Well, as long as it’s not a competitor. If it was a competitor, I would tell them it’s an awful service, but anyone that’s not in my geographical area, I would recommend it highly to them, and I have. So, I think it’s fantastic. It’s one of the few things out there that a lot of agents aren’t attacking, and they don’t know anything about it. So, I feel it’s very relevant and I would suggest that they jump on it.
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