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Posts Tagged ‘Commercial Insurance’

Feedback Friday…Do You Listen to Your Unhappy Customers?

Friday, October 6th, 2017

A regular feature of the CommercialInsurance.net social media is “Feedback Friday”, where we share comments from our customers.

For the most part, we like to focus on what we’re doing right, and it’s easy to do; our approval rating with customers on review site feefo is 4.7 out of 5 stars (over 300 reviews as of this writing). We also offer the option to review us on our Facebook page and on Google+.

When the topic of customer reviews comes up in the office, however, we give equal time–and possibly even more–to the subject of negative feedback.

Bill Gates (who knows a thing or two about business) has famously said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Lots of companies quote this, or stick it on a graphic for their Motivational Monday posts. (We do it too–follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see for yourself!)

Actually putting it into practice can be a different story.

It’s not fun to handle a complaint, or dig down through a customer journey to see what fell through the cracks, but it can’t be slam dunks and high-fives all the time. Just like everyone has bad days, every company–every company–disgruntles someone, at some time.

Does your company talk about negative feedback? As a consumer, how do you process seeing a negative review on a website?

We thought we would share some practices–for both businesses and customers–that we believe make the best use of the feedback from the least satisfied customers.

If You’re a Company

  • Listen. Consider utilizing a service like feefo for allowing a medium for feedback from your customers, if you don’t already. Even if you don’t…pay attention to the complaints your customer service department gets, don’t brush them off and focus only on the compliments.
  • Learn. Examine each complaint. Do “autopsies” when one of your customers leaves, to figure out if something in your business practices needs to be changed, and then do it. One of our standards is that every call is recorded. While the paper trail tells part of the story, if there’s a disconnect between how your employee remembers a conversation, and how the customer is relating it, this can be an invaluable way to figure out what really happened. Every part of the customer journey needs to be traceable, as much as possible. Sometimes, it’s the only way you can really know there was nothing else you could do…or that there are weaknesses in an employee’s performance.
  • Leverage. As crazy as it sounds, your willingness to be transparent about unhappy customers can give you an advantage; honesty is something everyone is looking for when they’re shopping. Research used by review management media company Reevoo states that 95% of shoppers suspect censorship or faked reviews when the comments available to see are only positive. You don’t have to publicize your reviews right away, if you begin using a service and the feedback is bad…but you should use it to fine tune your process, and then begin sharing once you hit the mark reliably.

If You’re a Customer

  • Really Read. If you’re going to utilize reviews as part of your decision making process about things that affect your business, don’t just skim them. Think critically about what you’re seeing, and learn to read between the lines. If a customer complains about a specific issue, look at the company’s response, and try to figure out what might have happened. Does the company’s answer to the complaint make sense? (The best businesses will provide responses about complaints that attempt to shed light on the problem.)
  • Research. Everyone wants their experience to be easy. Top shelf customer service will make it as smooth as possible, and a good company will help you understand processes that might be new to you. However, you shouldn’t abdicate responsibility for decisions, even when you make another entity a trusted partner in your business. A little research goes a long way, and understanding simple terms and concepts about what you’re engaging in will help to forestall some common misunderstandings.
  • Re-evaluate. If you’ve traditionally just glanced at a company’s reviews and went ahead full force when you saw five stars, consider adjusting your decision-making process. Take time to look closely at the reviews. How many are there? How long does the review history go back? How old is the company? Two five star reviews for a year-old company do not tell the same story as 400 reviews for a business in its fifth year with an average of 4.8. Complaints from two years ago may abruptly change at a point in time and show a consistent uptick in ratings to the present day. Evaluate your process for reading reviews and change it if necessary.

Negative reviews aren’t all bad, in other words.

If you’re willing, they can help you search out the business that can best serve you, as a customer. For business-owners, they can be a chance to sharpen your service, and strengthen weaknesses.

Customer Service Week Highlight: The Accounting Team

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Every business has a “bottom line”. The last individual CommercialInsurance.net team we’ll showcase for Customer Service Week is our Accounting/Processing Team–the group that makes sure our books are balanced, and that we’re on track, financially, both for our benefit and that of our customers.

Whether it’s recording transactions, managing accounts and bond/policy paperwork, or coordinating benefits, payroll and licensing requirements for agents and other staff, the Accounting/Processing Team provides the behind-the-scenes structure at CommercialInsurance.net. While their duties aren’t customer-facing, the jobs performed by Accounting/Processing are crucial to the operations of our company, and they enable those in more visible service positions to focus on customer service, by making sure that the underpinning of what we do is functioning at its optimum level.

They’re the support behind customer service, and an integral part of the framework that allows us to assist our clientele the way we do.

Customer Service Week Highlight: The Service Team

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Our tour of CommercialInsurance.net now turns to the group of people that puts the “Service” into “Customer Service”…the Service Team.

All of the data entry for your policy, after it’s purchased, as well as requests for certificates, your welcome letter and other pertinent documents, are handled by our Service Team.

If there’s a challenge you’re facing with your policy or need service that goes beyond basics, the Service Team is who you’ll talk to–their job is to facilitate the ongoing relationship we have with you, as a valued customer.

The CommercialInsurance.net Service Team also acts as a liaison between you, our client, and the carriers and finance companies that implement your policy. After terms have been settled, the Service Team is the group that makes sure you’re getting what you need.

Call us today at 1-877-907-5267. We’d love the chance to earn your business with our rates…and keep it with the stellar service that our teams provide.

Customer Service Week Highlight: The Sales Team

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

For Day 2 of Customer Service Week, we’ll take a look at CommercialInsurance.net’s Sales Team.

While our Traffic Team is the introduction to our company for a potential client, our Sales Team is where the relationship really begins.

A sale is what turns a prospect into a customer; it’s the foundation of everything that comes afterwards. Our agents are the people building that foundation. They determine what’s needed to get the best quote possible, and take the steps to provide coverage if it turns out that we’re a good fit.

After a Traffic representative has made the decision to transfer a customer to a sales agent, the agent will get additional information about the business, answer a customer’s concerns, provide a quote, and close the sale.

Agents on the Sales Team ask questions about the business (after the general qualification process in Traffic), and help customers understand both what they need, and which options are best suited to meet their specific business insurance requirements.

There’s often a negative association with sales, and salespeople are frequently regarded with suspicion (sometimes with good reason), but CommercialInsurance.net is dedicated to cultivating the concept of the agent as both ambassador for our company, and advocate for the customer. Our sales team is on your side; they want your business to have the commercial insurance coverage it needs at a reasonable cost, so that your company can continue to grow.

Hopefully, our relationship with you will grow as your business does.

Call us today and speak to one of our specialists for your business insurance quote at 1-877-907-5267.

Customer Service Week Highlight: The Traffic Team

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

In honor of Customer Service Week (October 1 - 6), we’re shining the spotlight on the teams that make up CommercialInsurance.net, and sharing the things they do that make our customer-centric business a success.

The Traffic Team, pictured above, is a natural first stop, since they’re the frontline of customer service at CommercialInsurance.net.

Our business model is a hybrid one, combining technology and insurance sales by providing quotes and quick insurance coverage for businesses via the Internet, and that mix of traditional business with innovation creates a unique working environment with a very special culture. The Traffic Team is the starting point for our customer service, since they’re usually the first contact a potential client has with our company, and they’re also the embodiment of our company’s singularity…we’re different, so we need a Traffic Team, and our Traffic Team personifies that difference.

Our customers are business owners looking for competitive commercial insurance coverage, and they’re often searching for insurance solutions online under a time constraint. A lack of understanding about what type of coverage they need combined with deadlines and demands from clients of their own usually means that when a Traffic Team member answers the phone, the person on the other end of the line isn’t in the greatest of moods. (If you’re unsure what kind of coverage your business requires, visit our page describing Business Insurance Basics).

A good Traffic rep is adept at not taking bad moods personally, and quickly categorizing a customer’s business and its specific needs through the matrix of options we have available, to find just the right fit.

And they do it with a smile.

Analytical software/solutions leader SAS advocates, in their white paper Analytics and the Customer Journey, making sure that your first and best practice is providing a positive start to your customer’s interaction with you.

At CommercialInsurance.net, we’ve established a strong square one in our endeavor to gain your business by creating a Traffic Team that can deftly handle both your stress level and your company’s individual insurance needs.

Business Insurance Basics

Monday, September 25th, 2017

If you’re just starting your new business, or have recently been wondering if your current commercial insurance coverage is enough, it can be frustrating trying to educate yourself about business insurance options.

At CommercialInsurance.net we specialize in qualifying businesses over the phone and connecting you with the agent most appropriate for your needs. You don’t have to know exactly what you’re looking for when you call, since we walk you through the process of discovery, but it is helpful if you have a general knowledge of what some of the most common commercial insurance coverages are, so that we can expedite the process as much as possible.

General Liability

This is a foundational policy that will cover your business’s most common exposures, such as property damage or bodily injury caused by you during the normal course of operations. A certificate proving you have general liability business insurance may be required when you contract with other businesses, and we can usually provide that certificate within a business day.

Workers Compensation

If you have employees, this coverage will provide their health benefits for work-related injuries. Your state may require workers compensation coverage if your business has employees, and the specifics about what you’ll need will vary. The carriers we work with provide a range of options.

Business Owner’s Policy

If you need business personal property coverage, as well as general liability and insurance for your building, a Business Owner’s Policy, or BOP, can provide a reasonable commercial insurance solution by packaging all of these together.

Commercial Auto

Vehicles used in the course of your business may qualify for commercial auto coverage. When looking for a quote, be sure to have the license numbers of any potential drivers, and VINs for the vehicles.

Commercial Umbrella Coverage

For areas that fall outside of these specific policies, you might consider a commercial umbrella policy. This is written in addition to foundational business insurance policies like those listed above, and is intended to cover catastrophic losses.

Risk management is an art, and our business is helping you protect your business.

Call one of our professionals today at 1-877-907-5267 for help building a commercial insurance plan for your company. Quotes are quick and easy once you’ve supplied some basic information about your business.

Figuring Out the “Gig” Economy: What Constitutes an Independent Contractor?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

The rise in recent years of for-hire business models, like those used for driving services Uber and Lyft, and delivery services like Instacart and Postmate, have put the term “independent contractor” under the microscope.

High profile liability issues (like the class action lawsuit that former drivers are filing against Uber) are only one aspect of the confusion; not only do employers need to understand their obligations towards the different types of workers they hire, but aspiring entrepreneurs should have a handle on what kind of risks and rewards are associated with self-employment.

The IRS has suggestions for defining characteristics that determine whether or not a worker is an employee or independent contractor…

  • - Who controls details of how the work is done?
  • - Who is responsible for negotiating the business aspects of the worker’s job?
  • - Who provides the worker’s benefits? (Vacation, insurance, pension, etc.)

The most basic distinction, tax-wise, between an employee and an independent contractor is that an employer is generally held responsible for withholding income taxes from an employee’s wages, but not for those of an independent contractor. Workers who are hired as independent contractors are often called “1099s”, a reference to the year end tax form they receive. (As opposed to “W2 employees”, who fill out a W2 for their employers and have taxes withheld by them).

But there are distinctions between the two types of workers that have ramifications in the insurance world, as well.

While the IRS may accept your choice to classify a worker as a subcontractor who receives a 1099 from you at the end of the year, if that same worker is injured on the job, or the subject of a lawsuit, it’s the Department of Labor who will determine if the individual is an employee or a subcontractor, regardless of which tax form they’ve been receiving from you.

And if the decision is that they are truly an employee, instead of an independent contractor, you will be held responsible for all medical costs, lost wages, future lost wages, etc, regardless of who has been paying their employment taxes.

The “bottom line” is always a factor in business decisions, and while the short term benefit of not having to pay employment taxes may sway business owners towards a preference for classifying workers as independent contractors, the potential for liability and associated costs should motivate the final decision about how to categorize the people they hire.

In fact, insurance costs for standard employees may actually be lower than those for subcontractors in some cases, although rates will vary from business to business and state to state.

For the individual who is trying to determine what the best status for them would be, the same elements of cost and risk should be weighed.

While the freedom to regulate the amount and type of work taken is a great benefit, independent contractors should also remember that they will shoulder the responsibility for damages or personal injury, and weigh out those costs against the perks of self-employment.

Getting specifics about insurance coverage from anyone hiring you as a subcontractor is highly advised, and keeping a policy in place for yourself that covers you in case of injury or damages could help forestall future financial disasters.

Call one of our specialists today (1-877-907-5267) or use the orange quote box above to find quotes for both worker’s compensation and general liability policies for small business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs.

Just Starting Your Business? Part 2

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

In the first part of this discussion, we went over a few scenarios which illustrate various types of coverage you might need for your new business.

Let’s now go over a few more.

  • Unbeknownst to you, a local newspaper interviews one of your employees about the business climate in town. She is quoted in the article as having said that your competitor is “a man without scruples or ethics who offers shoddy products and overcharges his customers.” Upon reading the article, your competitor files a lawsuit against you and your business.
  • You pull into the parking lot of your office one morning and see that the window has been shattered, there is crime scene tape around the building, and there are four police cars parked there, each with lights still rotating.
  • You invite a client to take a seat in your office, and he does so, only to have the chair collapse, leaving him sprawled on the ground. As you finish calling 911, he tells you that he cannot move or feel his legs.
  • Your computer causes a short circuit overnight and you arrive at work to find that the building you leased has burned to the ground, destroying your office and its contents as well as those of four other businesses.

Now, reading through these scenarios, can you figure out which coverages are best for each situation? No? Well, worry not. Your licensed insurance professional most certainly can.

Your job is to remember that there are risks associated with any venture, and that your highest priority before you open is to make sure that you have the proper business insurances in place.

Just Starting Your Business? Part 1

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

If you really stopped to consider all that could go wrong with your start-up business, you may never start it at all, and therefore, one of the most common questions we hear is this: “What are the risks I need to consider when I start my business?”

Well, let’s take a look at a few scenarios which illustrate various types of coverage. We’ll try not to scare you too badly.

  • One of your elderly clients is at your place of business and is ready to go home, but she cannot reach her husband to get him to come get her and drive her the 2 miles to her home. You offer to drive her yourself. About halfway to her house, you run a breeze through a YIELD sign, and a delivery truck plows into you on the passenger side. Both you and your client end up in the hospital.
  • Business is booming! You have a steady stream of customers, and you no longer worry day and night about whether or not you will be able to pay the bills. Your bookkeeper, however, has been out sick for 4 days now, and she has no idea when she’ll be back. You have gotten three phone calls today from different vendors, each informing you that you have bounced checks and they want their money. You open the safe and see that the petty cash is empty and the checkbooks are all missing.
  • You have a wine-and-cheese grand opening which is wildly successful! Everyone is abuzz and socializing, and they are all spending money. As the crowd clears out, you get word that a woman — who judging by her grand opening purchases is on track to be a major customer — missed a stop sign on her way home from your fete and hit a child on a bicycle. Furthermore, you are told, she blew a breathalyzer score more than twice the legal limit.

These are just a few of the scenarios which might occur, and which your licensed insurance professional will take into consideration when the two of you decide what coverages you need.

Equine Insurance

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Your business is raising and selling show horses. You own quite a few of them, and they are all gorgeous. And expensive!

Mortality and Theft
You will want to look into mortality and theft insurance for your horses. Your foals, yearlings, mares, stallions, and geldings of all breeds should be covered by this insurance.

It will insure your horse against death from any cause, much like your life insurance covers you against death. It includes illness or accidental injury as well as humane destruction which is made necessary by illness or injury.

It will also cover your horse if it is stolen.

Colic Surgery
You should also look into colic surgery and aftercare, which will cover your horse as long as the horse does not have a history of colic problems.

Major Medical and Surgical
Major medical and surgical coverage helps surprise veterinary expenses for your horse. Such coverage is an endorsement and usually covers reasonable and customary veterinary, medical, and surgical care costs which are the result of illness, injury, or accident. Frequently, such policies include emergency transportation of the animal.

Full Loss of Use
Full loss of use is another coverage you want to consider. It insures you against your horse becoming permanently unable to perform due to illness, disease, injury, or accident.

Stallion Infertility AS&D
Heaven forbid your prize stallion suddenly becomes unable to impregnate a mare due to an accident or disease. This coverage pays you for that loss. Usually, this coverage is not available to stallions who are in their first breeding season, as they must be proven valuable in this area in order for a loss to occur.

Do speak to a licensed insurance professional about what you need for coverage for your equine business.