Chief Customer Chat: Getting to know Linda Dodson

July 5, 2019 /

Written by: Cassidy Smirnow, Chief Customer Officer

As Vertafore’s Chief Customer Officer, our user group (made up of who else but our customers!) is one of my favorite topics. If you aren’t already aware, you get free membership to NetVU just by being a Vertafore customer/user. This isn’t just a benefit on paper: Being a NetVU member gives you access to thousands of resources including other users and super-users, discussion on the NetVU Community forums, training materials, and in-person educational and leadership opportunities.

Being part of NetVU isn’t strictly business either. The local chapters are known for their fun, social, and community service events as well. I’ll be the first to say that if you’re not taking advantage of your NetVU membership, you are really missing out on learning, making friends, and opportunities to grow your own career.

So, this month, I wanted to focus on NetVU—specifically the arrival of Linda Dodson as its new Executive Director. Linda may be in a new role, but she’s no stranger to NetVU. She's had extensive experience in the independent agency channel while spending the first 11 years of her career with a large agency in Connecticut and then transitioning to work for several major carriers. Additionally, she's been active in many industry groups, including ACORD, Agents Council for Technology (ACT), National Association of Professionals Insurance Agents and Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

I recently sat down with Linda to ask a few questions as she joins our NetVU family. Here’s what she had to say.

What are your goals for NetVU?

To improve awareness among our members. If we create unforgettable experiences, our members will become advocates and raving fans of NetVU and the Vertafore products and services. It still amazes me that so many Vertafore customers do not leverage the tools and resources available to them through their free NetVU membership.

The NetVU board recently walked through the results of our SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities) in a vision strategy meeting.

We realized that we need to help our members in any way possible to drive their business. We discussed the attrition of the independent agency force and how we can help agencies find, retain and develop young leaders.

The board decided on three strategic goals:

  1. Re-imagine education. How can we deliver education in a digestible way for different types of learners? How can we partner with Vertafore to provide members with a complete and cohesive learning journey available on one website? How do we enhance education for the development of leaders, agency managers, and sales and marketing teams?  
  2. Re-imagine Accelerate. We have exciting high-level ideas to strengthen the conference experience. We’re creating new education tracks and plan to offer CE credits. We’re also creating a way for a registrant to define his or her end goal, then shape the Accelerate experience achieve it.  
  3. Leverage our data. We want to improve and streamline our member experience. By refining our target audiences, for example, we can ensure that every email a member receives is directly applicable to them. With fewer, better targeted emails to open, the member experience is more efficient.

Your career has been all about improving agent and customer experience. How can NetVU help a user improve their firm’s customer experience?

My philosophy is to always put the customer first. That’s a huge priority for Vertafore as well, so you and I will need to collaborate. We plan to develop NetVU content that will help our members shape unforgettable experiences for their clients. The Vertafore lineup has many tools for improving the customer experience, and NetVU can help raise awareness and provide education for using them. As well, several NetVU partners specialize in the customer experience. We need to help them get their message out in a way that is digestible to members.

In what areas do you think NetVU can improve?

We need to continually challenge ourselves to grow. We must never be content with the status quo. We need to focus on the business first, not the process. We must facilitate better networking. To better help our members, we must develop more education that is not system related.

How do you see the relationship between NetVU and Vertafore?

We see opportunities to re-imagine how we engage. Vertafore is a huge proponent of NetVU’s independence and knows that’s an important selling point for its prospects. Vertafore also understands that we are the advocates for our members and can advocate in areas where they can’t. But we both also recognize this: Collaborating more closely to identify opportunities and to create educational and networking opportunities for our members and partners is a win-win.

We are working more closely today. Conversation at all levels between our organizations is continuous. Vertafore’s leadership team has been incredibly supportive, and key contacts across both our teams work to drive better experiences through open and honest collaboration.

We feel energized by our partnership. Together we can make a positive and lasting impact on the independent insurance channel. That excitement is contagious.

Would you like to contact Linda directly? She’d be happy to hear from you! Email at linda@netvu.org.