Be More Than Just a Brand Name On Social Media
A few weeks ago, you may have heard about Progressive’s PR nightmare: comedian Matt Fisher taking to his blog to call out the insurance company and say “they will defend your killer in court in order to not pay you your policy.”
However, if you just skimmed the articles about the court case involving the comedian’s family following his sister’s death in 2010 (and assuming you are not an insurance expert), you likely didn’t immediately realize that Progressive followed the rules according to laws in Maryland for how they settled the case, ultimately resolving the family’s claim.
Looking at Progressive’s Facebook and Twitter since the initial online outrage following Fisher’s blog post on Aug. 13, the company has only proactively posted two and three times, respectively. On Facebook and Twitter, two links directing readers to the Progressive website for further details, and on Twitter a MT of a CBS journalist mentioning the resolution of the case.
While both posts on the Progressive website mention that their “sympathies go out to the Fisher family,” in my opinion they come across as impersonal and insensitive. Was Progressive within its legal rights in how the case was conducted? Yes, it seems. Did Progressive handle the situation in the best manner possible? Most signs point to no.
Progressive did the best it could within its legal limits to avoid paying a settlement to the Fisher family. The problem with doing that, however, is Progressive’s actions speak to the company’s main focus in this case: their pocketbooks.
I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail:
“If I really knew you, I know exactly what I'd find: instead of a brain a cash register, instead of a heart a bottom line.”
Responding in a crisis is never easy for a company, but the manner in which you respond can make or break your relationship with your customers. Social media is a powerful tool and it offers the possibility for a company to bring customer relations to a personal level again and become more than just a brand name.
At a time when it’s easier than ever for a brand to show its customers that they truly care, Progressive didn’t go above and beyond for the Fisher family, and as a result many of their customers are now shopping for a new insurance provider.