Monday, October 30, 2017

You gotta love “productivity” but are we missing something?

To those thinking the robots are coming, let's review this letter. It is a "culmination" of a lot of efficiency in client-agent communication, I presume.

What is its message? What are some solutions?

Are we missing the mark somewhere? If so, where? Why? How do we fix it?

"Dear Jenny and Jane,

Some six and a half or more years ago I reached out to your company with a need for car insurance for my vehicle that I was bringing back from Europe as I got my Director position with X University. You all have helped us with insurance work since. Because I liked the responsiveness and professionalism that Jane showed the first time. And thus I kept asking for help on new circumstances with new needs.

But that professionalism and high responsiveness have changed over time. This time around, with our two houses, it's happened again. I'm at a loss of understanding.

I did what I was asked to do and we both signed two checks today and signed the two pages out of forms that we got in the mail and returned them to Jenny..

I say that so you see that I'm following your advise. But I also need to friendly point out that I didn't like the story as it happened. I feel my questions are always ignored. My preferences are ignored. We get some solution but it's not really the solution we were seeking. It's odd and complicated and terribly confusing for someone like me who doesn't understand these things well enough. I never get my questions answered and I have no idea what is going on. I paid for some three years our home insurance to a company in Y State [way over there away from where we are] (Company A) who didn't care for anything about us. I always paid them online 2-300$ ahead without even getting an invoice or payment plan from them—in this electronic era—and then all they did was send me a note saying I owed them $7 or so. A phone call? An email? An invoice in advance? Nothing! Really? The Company B insurance on our cars was completely useless when it came to the hail damage. It took over a month for someone to come and when they did they handed me a check made to Toyota and I which needed clearing by mail. We paid the windshields from our pockets a price higher than what the Company B lady [coming from way out there in New York City] estimated, as the insurance lady had no viable solution to actually have the car fixed and I was getting tired of driving without seeing in the back and risking that water would get to my $3,000 hybrid battery through the missing broken glass. We upped money for fixing the insured vehicle, money we didn't ever recover in full. That's called "Extra Care" treatment I suppose:(

When I asked Jenny this time again about bundling two cars and two homes in one policy, possibly with some discount, and naturally with a company that is courteous and effective if the need ever arises I didn't really get an answer to the question I had, as asked. Why? Yes, we got quotes, but not really any professional advise and understanding of options etc. Convenience and courtesy and effectiveness are important to us. We can pay a premium for those if we understand why and how and if we like the treatment. I could of course shop for insurance by myself. But I don't. I think agents are professionals and they have a serious role, i.e. to help clients decide best and to make things nice and easy and friendly. I dislike that many industries including the insurance one squeezes agents out and am thus fighting against that by buying local in this field as in any other field where I can. But sometimes it gets hard and I don't get much help on what I try to do how I try to do it.

This time I went ahead and wrote checks and signed papers I didn't really understand for policies I am not quite convinced about with a company that again I know little about and which may or may not be there for us if God forbid we may need it. But I'm not certain why I keep doing it if I'm not entirely happy with the outcome of the simple process of asking a few questions I find important and never getting an answer to them in full.

I know this is a lot and much of it is way out of your control. Thank you for your work for us but please be more forthcoming with understanding what we need and explaining back things to us, in simple ways so we can get it. While email and mail are OK, live interactions also help, as they build and maintain trust.

All the best,
Jack and Jill,
Customers in TwentyFirst Century world

(Jenny and Jane are both agents in a small family owned local insurance company in the Midwest)

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

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