How not to treat your existing customers

Just had a really bad experience with our car Insurance company.

We had our renewal notice in, and it had almost doubled, despite having no claims, or even contact with them over the previous year. I know it has been well documented that insurance premiums had risen, but thought this was extreme in the least.  I went on to a consumer sight to compare prices and found one which was marginally more expensive than last year.

I telephoned the number on the renewals document and there was a recorded message thanking me for the call, explaining that they were very busy with call waiting times of up to 1 hour! It suggested calling back later, or going on to their website and onto webchat.

Their website had every question/answer scenario covered apart from cancelling.

I tried to call again later on the same day, still the same message but I waited a little longer that time and they said you could email customer services. Which I did. 24 hours later I received a reply, sorry you can’t do it via email you need to call…… The air got a little bluer!

Last night, I made a cuppa, got comfy and called. After 30 minutes I finally managed to speak to someone. After going through security and explaining that we wish to cancel, he then decided that I didn’t have the security clearance to cancel (it’s in my husband’s name) – he’d been quite happy to speak to me before and he sounded quite smug when he said it. I passed the phone to my husband, who then had to spend the next 5 minutes repeatedly saying no thank you, we wish to cancel.

There are numerous issues here:

 - Look after your existing customers and stop focusing on new business. Treated right, your repeat customers will give you years of continued business, will recommend others – thereby given you a constant revenue stream.

 - Don’t make it difficult to get to speak to a real person. I imagine they thought that inertia would win out and that it would be too much trouble to cancel and you’d just renew anyway.

 - If your lines are busy, get a call back service in place – no one wants to sit in a queue for up to an hour.

 - When your customers are finally speaking to your front-line staff, make sure they listen, are empathetic and efficient – even if the client is asking to cancel! They may come back one day!