A lot of insurnce agencies I talk to are uneasy about customer reviews that might show up on the public web. The fact is, most business owners are nervous about losing control over customer commentary, but I tend to talk mostly to insurance agents. The local search components of all the major search engines have a place for reviews, and services like Yelp exist pretty much for the purpose of sharing customer reviews. You don’t have to draw your customer’s attention to these review services; sooner or later, they will find them on their own.
Unscrupulous ‘web marketing’ service providers will sometimes post false, negative reviews (or positive reviews on a competitor site they are ‘optimizing’). You should be monitoring your insurance agency’s reviews on these services, as well as those of competitors. Search providers are generally responsive to dealing with false reviews, as long as they can be proven false (e.g., the same ‘reviewer’ providing essentially the same review, to multiple insurance providers across the country, and posting all the reviews around the same time). If reviews are legit, however, or if you cannot prove them to be false, they stay.
The best way to offset negative reviews is by out weighing them with positive reviews. Happily, the evidence seems to indicate that there are a lot more good reviews than bad. Geoff Donaker, COO at Yelp, noted that the ratio of positive to negative reviews is 6:1*. If your agency is delivering real value, let go a little and encourage your customers to spread the word.
*From http://allthings.womma.org/2009/05/18/recap-yelp-presentation/, May 13, 2009