Customer Service via Twitter

by Jason Verlinde, CIC - Verlinde Insurance Agency on March 22, 2010 · 10 comments

This is Jason Verlinde’s first post for InsuranceEcosystem. We are looking forward to many more. Jason is Vice President of Verlinde Insurance Agency, Richmond MI

Last week I had my second pleasant experience with the Dish Network Twitter team. I had been having problems with my Dish system and tweeted, “ Ever since we upgraded our dish network equip our remotes only work 25% of the time 🙁 help!”. I had a reply instantly telling me that they want to help. Within three minutes my phone rang and it was Dish Network Customer Service! I didn’t have to call an 800 number, I didn’t have to press two for service, I didn’t need to know my account number. Dish Network has a “team” monitoring twitter constantly and responding to service issues. It was an amazing customer service experience and I have told the story to many people.

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After the call, I started to think about how an Independent Insurance Agency could have such a presence on Twitter to respond to questions and/or problems tweeted by people concerning insurance. The answer that I came up with is: “An” Independent Insurance Agency probably can’t, but “The” Independent Insurance Agency System could.”

If all Independent Agents that are active on Twitter set up a search in Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, or whatever twitter client they are using to monitor references of Insurance, the Independent System could have a huge presence. With many eyes on the Twitterverse it would only take each of us a few minutes each day to make a huge difference.

You may not be influencing a person that is a direct prospect of yours, but you are influencing them to buy from the Independent System. Pay it forward. What goes around comes around. Whatever you want to call it!

Last night I saw the following tweet: “Debating if it’s worth the extra $12/month to switch to a local, independent car insurance agent versus renewing with GEICO.” I responded instantly with: “Make the switch. Unless you like 800 numbers, and talking to people that have never stepped foot in your town.” I am in Michigan. The person was in Portland, Oregon. I will never sell him anything but if he makes the switch I have done my job. By the way, @Geico never replied to his tweet. #FAIL

Have you had good or bad customer service via twitter? Please share your experiences in the comments.

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  • You make some great points Jason! I have had 2 customer service interactions via Twitter with large companies- Comcast & Verizon. Comcast was great, issue was resolved pretty quick. Verizon was more of an ongoing issue that eventually was resolved. I am also a big fan of keyword tracking & searches in Hootsuite. I have them set up for local towns as well as a variety of insurance terms. It makes it real easy to find people w/ similar interests

    • Great comments. Thanks for sharing your twitter customer service experience and other twitter pointers.

  • Tracking of #insurance has been tough over the last few months because of the millions of Health Insurance tweets. Great idea of tracking based on some more specific insurance terms!

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  • A good one that I use is search.twitter.com

    I think this is a fantastic concept the is however, exactly what you talked about, most Independent Agencies can't keep up… The ones that do, however, are going to be market leaders in coming decades…

    Great first article Jason, I look forward to more.

    Ryan H., http://www.ryanhanley.com
    My recent post How Your Homeowners Protects You On Vacation

  • I had a great experience with a technology vendor that works with my employer. It wasn't even to resolve a problem, but rather a textbook case of outbound customer service. I tweeted about how great we thought their company was as a partner (@Clarizen) and they responded by sharing a case study for what it was like to work with my employer, and some of the details of our relationship. It was business as usual until they went the extra mile to share our mutually beneficial success story on their blog and via Twitter. The point, customer service is not always about putting out fires, it's equally as effective for strengthening relationships.
    My recent post Interview questions to ask a blogger or social media intern

  • Jordan

    That is interesting to think of putting Twitter in with an insurance agency system. Thanks so much for sharing the idea

    http://www.my-evo.com

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