• June 24, 2022
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

With All the Tools Available, You Only Have Yourself to Blame for Poor Service

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After nine years, I broke up with the company that was insuring my co-op apartment. For more than two months, they completely mishandled a claim I filed for water damage that stemmed from flooding in the apartment upstairs. First, they wanted me to file a claim against my own policy, which would have meant that I was assuming liability for the guy upstairs going to work in the morning and leaving the water on in the bathroom. I would also have had to pay a $500 deductible on the repairs. Then they tried to deny liability by citing some mis-applied statute in the co-op bylaws, and when that didn’t work, they tried to conflate my claim with another one that the building filed for unrelated damages stemming from the same flooding. Then, when they finally got the story straight, they told me to submit an estimate for the repairs. I did that, and then I had problems getting my claims adjustor on the phone to discuss the next steps. I left one message after another, and she never responded.

At several points during my interactions with the company, I let them know that I was unhappy with how the claim was being handled, and that changed nothing. So I switched to another company and got the same coverage for $100 less per year in the process.

It didn’t have to be this way. I indicated my frustrations several times, but the insurer ignored the warning signs. Sure, I got the usual platitudes and apologies, but the company did nothing in any meaningful way to turn my frown upside down.

Customers like me are not shy about expressing their displeasure with companies when they fail to meet expectations. And if companies can’t see that, they only have themselves to blame. As our third feature, “Tools Can Now Uncover Real-Time Customer Behavior,” explains, there are plenty of tools on the market to uncover real-time customer behaviors, both good—like clicking on a link in an ad, renewing a subscription, or redeeming a loyalty reward—or bad—like posting a negative review on a site like Yelp or voicing a complaint during an agent interaction.

“Real-time analytics offers the potential to turn a negative interaction into a positive one, prevent a customer from churning, and deliver the best experience possible every time, which in turn drives loyalty and strong relationships,” says Jeff Gallino, founder and chief technology officer of analytics provider CallMiner, in the article.

I can only assume that my old insurance company didn’t have one of these tools in place. I’d encourage executives there to read the feature before other customers take the same action that I did.

And while they’re at it, they might also want to take a look at our cover story, “Putting Your Business to the Text.” The article espouses the use of third-party messaging apps as a customer service channel. Had the company deployed a messaging app, it would have eliminated one of the major problems I had. I repeatedly called the company’s toll-free numbers and left messages for the claims adjuster assigned to my claim, but the response never came. I had to call again and again, finally complaining to her supervisor before I got her on the phone. With text messaging, a response could have come far more easily.

“Why force customers to use an application they don’t have or make them call when you can meet them on the apps they are already using daily?” Boost.ai’s Nick Sanchez asks in the article.

Pairing chat and messaging with a chatbot that can start the support experience, the company could have dramatically decreased the amount of time that my adjuster spent answering simple questions that could have been handled with automation, leaving her more time to get on the phone with me.

And with messaging, the company could also have cut costs. The feature points out that the costs of operating over instant messaging are usually lower than those of operating over the telephone. That’s money the company could use right now: Not only did they eventually have to pay $680 to settle my claim, but they lost me as a customer and will not be getting the $323 I sent them every year.

Leonard Klie is the editor of CRM magazine. He can be reached at lklie@infotoday.com.

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