Is it possible to have a positive customer service experience?

Aug 10th, 2009 | Posted by
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In my last blog, I shared with you the challenges of having an unusual risk (a house with possible subsidence). Once more, the personal experience of being an insurance consumer warrants mentioning on this blog as it is a great anecdote representing a broader industry challenge.

Almost 4-weeks have elapsed, and I am still waiting for my house insurer to come back to me on whether the premium has changed, based on the surveyor report. I now have an email address of a customer service technician who I bother weekly. But the process leaves me immensely frustrated and annoyed at the insurer.

Questions in my mind –

· The renewal cost to the insurer is a function of the amount of time (read resources) a policy requires in it’s handling, so just how much is this renewal costing them?

· What technology is in place, and how much automation is being leveraged? Do they have a workflow system?

· How paperless is the process? Have they scanned in the surveyor documents to reduce the friction costs of passing this through the organization?

· Have they considered using mobile updates to the customer to keep them informed of progress? My on-line supermarket uses a similar process with fantastic results.

But all is not lost – there is a glimmer of hope for UK PLC customer service. I had an email from Kwik-Fit just after my last blog post, who commiserated with me and informed me of their unuique approach to customer service in personal lines (motor only at this point). This company has account managers assigned to customers and this account manager is responsible for the sale, and post-sale service. As a Kwik-fit customer, I would have this person’s name, and direct number. Any changes that I need to make, or any queries at renewal, I can call this person directly. What a refreshing change. A key element to customer service is keeping the customer informed and such direct access into the organization does just that.

I challenge my house insurer to take a note out of the customer-service booklet of Kwik-fit. The old adage is that insurance is sold and not bought, inferring that it’s a forced purchase. Whilst that is true, insurers could learn a lot from best practice in the retail industry who know the value of looking after the customer.

So for this month, the Onion award goes to my house insurer (who shall remain nameless), and the Orchid Award goes to Kwik-fit.

NOTE: This author has no shares or any other links to Kwik-fit!

  1. paulmay
    Aug 17th, 2009 at 03:39
    Reply | Quote | #1

    Your insurer’s mindset may be that their current interaction with you isn’t customer service at all. They’ll interpret a premium increase as something you’ll view negatively, and therefore not have thought that delay or silence on their part will cause you any additional grief. Many companies invest in efficient customer service in order to head off complaints rather than enrich the relationship. In this case, your insurer probably feels that your relationship with them is in negative territory, and that haste on its part might look rapacious. It’s unlikely to have occurred to them that offering information during this period would reassure you and bind you closer to them.