Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Serving the Customer: It's About Making It Easy and Convenient

Late yesterday afternoon, I went scurrying to buy homeowners insurance for a house I'm closing on in a couple of weeks. I called a big local agency and nobody answered the phone. I called GEICO and the little lizard wasn't home. The lady answering the phone said, "The person who handles homeowners won't be in until later."

I Googled "homeowner insurance quotes" and got a site that asked for a bunch of info, then promised four bids. I got two, none from anybody local. But I did get a price range that the site considers fair for a house like mine and at least I had something on which to base what would be fair quotes.

So I went to the only other logical place to get a quote: Facebook.

I put up a post asking for a quote and 30 minutes later I had 17 internet replies and three phone calls. The people who went to the trouble to find out my phone number got my attention and I gave the one who called me back at 9 a.m. today with a quote the business ... but not without a snafu, even with that.

I like assertive people and this agent was assertive. She also got me a good price and asked if I could have the monthly payment removed from my checking account. I said I'd rather be billed. She said that would cost $8 a month extra. I said I didn't think I'd like that. Would the insurance company take a credit card? She said she'd ask the insurer. It said "no." I said, "Find another insurance company. If this one is so hard to get along with upfront, imagine what its service would be like." She found another in minutes and all my requests were respected.

I have insurance without being humiliated by a company and it happened quickly and without a lot of difficulty--save for the knowledge that a company would charge me to tell me what I owe it and then would not take a credit card to pay for all this "service." Boggles the mind.


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