Saving Money On Your 2017 Insurance

Turn Happy Customers into Online Ambassadors in 2017
New Year's Reso

It’s no longer enough to make customers happy, or even get them to praise your good service to your face. What you really need is for your customers to share their positive experiences with others, and to do so in online reviews.

Clearly, our internet-based society is relying more and more on sources like Google, Facebook, and Yelp to decide what companies we should trust with our business. According to research, a whopping 97% of consumers read reviews about local businesses, and 89% of consumers who visit review sites make a purchase within a week.

And while friends’ opinions count, reviews from strangers still carry a lot of weight; in one Zendesk survey, 88% of customers say a review influenced a buying decision. So, since consumers are searching for positive reviews, make sure they’re out there.

Interestingly, almost 75% of consumers say they don’t write reviews; encourage your customers to share their good experiences online by incorporating this process into your business plan. Set up profiles on review sites that are relevant to your business, and provide links to reviews on all your online customer touch points. Most importantly, turn your customers’ verbal kudos into reviews. If they’re happy, ask them to write a review.

Finally, says Forbes contributor Nellie Akalp, you can offer a small incentive for writing a review. (Enter all monthly reviewers in a giveaway draw, she suggests.) But don’t specify a “good” review, and don’t buy it.

If your service is great, your customers should be more than happy to become your online ambassadors.

How to Make Your Case in a Room Full of Dissenters
Taking Stand

At some point in your career, you will almost certainly be called upon to express a point of view, take a position, or recommend an action that is counter to that held by the majority. Standing alone in the face of dissent requires the courage of your convictions. And, regardless of your gender, ethnicity, stature, or position in the organization, it takes strength and tact to present this position effectively and gracefully.

Here are some techniques to help you state your case with integrity, dignity, and self-confidence and encourage others to be more open to your perspective.

  • Active listening is a profoundly effective communication strategy. A sincere effort to listen and understand other points of view sends a positive message.
  • Don’t make getting your point across the goal. Stay focused on the fact that there’s a problem that needs to be solved. It’s not about winning points or keeping score.
  • Don’t push your position or your agenda too aggressively. The harder you push, the more entrenched others become and the harder they will push back.
  • When engaged in difficult discussions, look for points of agreement, and seek to provide information that adds value to the discussion.
  • Stay centered, positive, and focused on the issue, problem, or situation at hand.

Above all, don’t blame, accuse, or put down others, either verbally or with gestures, facial expressions, or body language. Remain poised, respectful, engaged, and purposeful. Whenever possible, allow your opponents to look good and save face.

The ability to influence and persuade is not just for leaders. Getting people to listen to, accept, and implement your ideas is essential for career success as well as success in all other aspects of life.

Resolve to Save on Business Insurance in 2017
Your business plan for 2017 might look nothing like your competitor’s. But they likely have a common theme: Boost the bottom line. Of the myriad ways to do this, one method is simple: Cut your insurance costs. How? Here are some tips for business owners:

Reduce risk: Fewer claims = savings. Set up procedures that prevent potential claims. Burglar alarms, employee training, and slip-and-fall precautions are great examples. Make a list of your biggest potential losses from accidents, and set up ways to prevent or minimize them. Having the appropriate measures in place will keep your operations running smoothly and your insurance costs low.

Bundle it up: Small businesses are often eligible for a business owner’s policy (BOP). This typically bundles your general liability, property, business interruption, and other riders together in one policy at a discounted rate. Check with your agent to see if your business qualifies. Common requirements include a business location and a low-risk profile.

Classify correctly: There are hundreds of worker’s compensation class codes that correspond to various positions. Each has its own ranking for potential risks, and each has its own price. Since your worker’s comp premium is based partly on your class codes, be sure you have designated each employee correctly. Don’t overpay by placing employees in a higher-risk code than required. It might seem simpler to tag everyone under one code, but this is rarely the right move.

Lump your sum: Many business owners pay for their coverage on a monthly basis. This is often done for budgeting purposes. However, paying annually might save you money. Ask your agent about payment plan options that could reduce your overall cost.

Revise restrictions: What are your current policy deductibles and limits? Have you reviewed them lately? If you have fairly low risk, it could be worth taking on a higher deductible to lower your premium. If your business has changed in the past year, you may be able to lower your policy limits. Or if you need to raise your limits, an additional umbrella policy might be the best option.

Make it a habit to review your policies at the end of each year with your agent to see what changes might save you money in the next four quarters.

Strengthen safety: Consider beefing up your safety measures in the next year. A safe work environment reduces worker’s comp claims and liability lawsuits. Develop or strengthen safety-training programs. Ensure all new employees are properly trained in your safety measures. Host workshops and training sessions regularly to ensure everyone is engaged. Incentivize safety by rewarding employees who maintain good records.

Ask your agent: Don’t let the calendar flip without contacting your agent. A quick call to your provider could save you crucial dollars in the next year. Your insurance pro is a valuable resource. Keep lines of communication open as your business needs change. This will ensure your policies not only meet your current demands, but also take less of your hard-earned money.