Category Archives: loyalty
Let’s be friends
So most of us have friends. They come in all shapes and sizes. You are closer with some more than others. Some you hang out with more often. Some are “on-line” friends or “work” friends but they all get the label friends. They all on some level have a place in your world.
At the same turn, each of them needs or wants something from you. Some need/want more than others. At various times one or more of them may need a lot from you. Over time some friends sort of increase in value(feelings) while others get less. But they are all still your friends.
If you wanted to get morbid about it you can break it down like this;
- Some friends will come to your funeral to see you one last time
- Some will come out of respect for your family even though you are not so close
- Some will not make it but may say a silent prayer and take some time to grieve or celebrate you
- Some will hear of your passing, feel bad for a moment and move on
I think the key in that scenario is making sure that no one is happy you passed.
So how do you treat your friends. Like I wrote earlier, they are all treated a little different but on some level they are all the same. They may have different levels of value and importance but they are all still valuable and important. We also know that at some point, one or many of them may have some difficult times that you may choose to or have to help with.
Do we charge them a fee for this “extra” help? NO we know it is part of the equation. We know that friendship is a long term thing. We know that if we choose good ones, some would even say the right ones, the good times will far outweigh the bad. **We know we are not for everybody but we try to be good humans and be flexible. We don’t treat anyone as a lesser human, we are just friendlier with some more than others** We know that friendships come with a lot of things that really cannot be measured. We know that most friends know that friendship is a reciprocal relationship. We know that when we can, we take on a little more responsibility.
So if this is how most of us live life, why should how an insurance company treats a customer be any different?
An Insurance system fail
When a system fails, consumers and the people they need to run them, we all lose.
- They are giving the customer too much to think about.
- They are allowing poor choices to take place instead of eliminating the possibility of them happening.
- They are leaving themselves vulnerable for the when/if the customer shops a bit or worse a claim happens.
What is worse about this is they don’t have to do it this way.
Why I took your customer?
Several times a month a new person hires me and I am shocked. See I know I am “good” and I know how to do a lot of things. But there is a recurring theme, there is really no reason why this opportunity should exist. There is no reason why this person should have called. But then again there are quite a few.
The one that set me over is something like this, husband and wife with the same agent for 20+ years. Husband and wife fit perfectly into dozens of companies; married, great credit, college degrees, home owners, clean records. He is also a business owner and the paths fairly regularly cross with the agent who should appreciate his business. Sounds familiar?
- You let me. I didn’t take this person as much as you didn’t put any effort into keeping them.
- You’ve had an agency for twenty years and you are acting that way. STOP. The year is 2014, time to get comfortable with it and start using the available tools.
- Make your own rules. Just because some book describes “typical coverage” doesn’t mean you need to do it. Are you offering as much coverage as you have?
- Grow with your customers. Because if you don’t I will. Seriously, loyalty goes to people first and maybe companies second. Rates improve if you want them to.
- You might disagree but the fact is you really don’t earn money off a rate increase. You should be lean enough that the goal is to keep existing customers but you’re not.
- Pay it back. If you are doing it right you turn some amount of profit on that customer immediately. So based on that you may have been profitable on one person for twenty years. Have you supported an event their a part of? Donated to their charity? Sent them some business? Why not?
- WAKE UP CALL. We are in an old industry, think about the other things you are buying and compare the experience. Seriously if studying Geico, Progressive or ay other online company does not wake you up look at Amazon, Zappos and about 10,000 other retailers.
This could go on for a while but I hope you get the point. Thanks for letting me make some suggestions.
What price do you really pay for your auto and home insurance?
With several hundred companies offering auto and home insurance in the U.S. you would think a bit more variety would exist. The reality is that the majority of them are after the same demographic; good to great credit, home ownership, college educated, multiple cars. Then there is everybody else. With a constant turn over of actuaries and heads of underwriting everybody else inevitably can get luck and fit into a preferred companies model. Generally due to a fluke in the sophistication of underwriting. But the reality is still that there are only three prices available to the public and YOU choose your price.
1. Best(see lowest)Price; reality is this is all on you to get the lowest. If you really wanted this you would have to spend several hours on the phone and computer. I am not aware of ANY agent who has access to every company and as of this post there is not an website with all of them either.** It’s coming** So now what? Be sure to decide on your coverage before shopping. Also realize that you may have never heard of the company you end up with. Also realize that the spread from the lowest to the highest rate may be 100% different but it is likely 1-5% in the lowest five options. Was it worth the time?
2. Fair Market Price; this is what most people have. Your rate is likely in the top 5-10 available rates and is solid. Sure you can save a little bit but is it worth the time? Is it worth any technology sacrifices? Is it worth losing an agent(friend you buy insurance from) To you it probably is not. This is ok. Honestly I think this is where you want to be. Remember saving more than $300 or so between your auto and home is not a good thing.
3. Loyal Price: Here is your warning. If you are with an agent who only has one company in all likelihood this is what you have. Take comfort in the fact that your agent is doing the best he/she can with what they have. In my experience(11 years worth) for most of your time with this company you will be closer to the top end of fair market than at the lowest. But hey, you are supporting a person you like, I hope, and hopefully they bring more to the table than just insurance. Maybe some business acumen, maybe some friendship, maybe referrals, etc.
What do all three have in common? You choose which one you have.
Thanks, just some thoughts.
Rate increases are bad for everyone
Unfortunately people have come to accept rate increases with their auto and home insurance policies. Kind of sad. They have heard all sorts of silly excuses;
” Rates are going up across the state…”
” The big storms across the country are the cause..”
BLAH BLAH BLAH
Rates go up because companies can raise rates PERIOD. That is all, for the most part they do just go up. Now this kind of rate increase is the main culprit. FACT is if your driving record has changed since when you took out the policy your rate should go up. But now it also goes up if you have a home insurance claim as well. Thing is most home insurance claims are avoidable and most times you see an increase. Sort of like with auto insurance, like it or not ANY accident that shows up on your record will likely have an impact.
But what is the next level? Well now that we see what happens to the consumer lets watch it get worse. So Company A increases rates so someone they insured calls their agent. Now is this company is the only option the agent has to work with both Company A and the agent will now likely lose this customer. Congrats, you tried to get more money now both the company and the agent lose money.
Now lets say the person is with an independent broker. Well now Company A, who is in a bit of a partnership with the agent/agency, may not have the best available rate. But since it costs more to get a new client than keep an old one the agency “shops” for a better rate and finds one. Even if the commission rates(insurance is not a not-for-profit) are the same from the old company to the new one the agent still loses. See the time you have to invest is what is at issue. Without the rate increase you have a seemingly happy customer and a briefer annual review. With the rate increase we have a disappointed customer and more time spent making things better.
When the things we do for profitability are not gaining profits it might be time to change things.
Markets change, I get it. Times and people change, I get it. Arbitrarily raising rates “just because we can” is hindering the long term results and profitability of an entire industry.
Just some thoughts. Could go longer.
Time to make ABC into ABO
So in the iconic sales based movie Glengarry Glen Ross the scene emphasizing “Always be closing” stands out as a signature moment;
Although the scene itself(**Some language, not for everyone) is brief the message it portrays decades of sales attitude. Good for the rest of us that those decades are over and people much prefer to buy then be sold.
Then, of course, there is this;
About all this line, made famous here **some language** Coffee in my world is for OPENING.
Opening ideas for further development
Opening minds to new referral opportunities
Opening up my Linkedin to share value
The only time it is used for closing is when my and my coffee mate come to a mutually beneficial agreement, cheers our coffee cups and move on!
Always Be Opening
Just some thoughts
62 years of loyalty and you get…
A rate $600 higher than the market will bear. Such a shame. I have been told that if an insurance company has a customer with no claims they become profitable within about three years. Based on this it is safe to say a customer of 62 years has earned your company some money, yet you let them go. Kind of like the goofy T.V. or movie scenario where the employee of 30 years gets a cheap watch and a certificate of appreciation.
In your own world be sure that loyalty goes both ways. Loyalty is earned and should not be given. If you vote with your dollars you will likely not have this happen to you.
Leave the pen and pencil set behind, you can buy plenty more with your savings.
Dear Enterprise Rental Car,
I had an unfortunate moment last Thursday when my car was struck by another one. Now that I have had some time to relax and think I thought I would right you a letter. I believe that if you are going to hand out feedback you need to be willing to share good and bad. DISCLAIMER, I have been haphazardly recommending you for about ten years since a previous employer had arrangements with you. Shame on me.
The good news is my first two conversations with Geico representatives were wonderful. Great job empathizing with me, made me feel like they really cared. Not once was I put on hold in about 20 minutes on the phone. The bad news, in my first conversation with your rep I was put on hold twice and could tell he had a lot more he was working on than just my car. I also let him know that I would need a larger car. Since I have two children that would not fit in the Fiat he offered maybe something else would be available, he really was unconcerned. I asked him if he really wanted to send me out in a car that was not safe and he did not answer.
More good news, Geico stepped up and made sure I had a comparable car available. More bad news, when I arrived there were two options but neither was washed and ready. When I did get the new car it was then washed while I waited. FAIL. Then when I started the car I realized the car needs an oil change. This has been great, every time I start the car I am reminded of how little your employees care about it. Should be real fun for the next two weeks while my car is fixed.
Good news, Geico checked in to make sure things went smooth. I informed them of how great their service was but how your bad service actually reflects negatively on them as well. Of course they were not pleased. More bad news, you have young impressionable adults who could and should become wonderful pieces of society. Instead the person that handled the paperwork followed his script and made sure I was just another transaction. Thought it was particularly wonderful when I told him about a stain in the back seat and he told me “don’t worry about it we are only concerned with the outside..” So we don’t care about interior or the engine, nice.
Now these may be small things but the reality is small things add up to big things. Like the 1000+ people I do business with each year and the couple of dozen claims my customers have each year, they all add up. One person at a time I try to provide a good experience, I own all my actions, good and bad. I am by no means perfect but I always try.
Thanks for reading. Best of luck on improving your experience.
Dissatisfied in Poughkeepsie,
Billy Van Jura
P.S. Also, shouldn’t all your cars have satellite radio? Why make someone have to look for stations in an unfamiliar location? I am sure XM can give you a volume discount like you give Geico and other insurance companies.
Can you send that to me in writing?
I say this a couple of times a week. When it comes to insurance there are two specific times that this is a popular phrase; claims and loyalty.
With claims, I am asked “but will my rate go up?” Odds are pretty good but it is not certain that your rate goes up if you file a claim. I have seen plenty of awful driving records but since they have not had their records reviewed by the current company the rate is solid. That doesn’t mean rates do not go up with claims, it just means that you have somehow avoided having your record looked at. Also find it amusing to watch Nationwide and Allstate advertise “diminishing deductibles.” Seriously, most people do not have claims. The most common claim is an auto insurance glass claim and that already has no deductible. In my opinion you are better off holding on to to your money.
How about loyalty? I have said it before, please reserve loyalty for people that earn it not companies. Should you be rewarded for your time with a company? I think so, the longer you stay with a company the more profitable they can be. BUT, Please show it to me in writing. Unless you have it in writing let’s not “hope” your loyalty is worth something.
Just an idea, thanks for reading.