Elise has been with a certain insurance agency for as long as I’ve known her. When we were married, I switched my auto policy to her agency. When we bought our house, we decided to use this same agency (with discounts applied) for our homeowners’ policy. Over the years, and even though it’s an insurance agency, we’ve had no memorable complaints. And they’re just a great local agency that I’m confident I can reach by phone when and if I need to.
However, I received an email yesterday that just didn’t sit well with me:
We were reviewing your auto renewal, and noticed the defensive driving certificate we have on file has expired. This discount will be removed upon renewal. If you have taken defensive driving, please send us an updated certificate and we can reapply the discount. Let me know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Customer Service Representative
So I let the above email subconsciously marinate, and I tended to it this morning with a response:
Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I would have hoped that you might have written:
We noticed the defensive driving certificate we have on file has expired. Ordinarily this discount would be removed upon renewal; however, since you’ve been such a valued customer over the years and haven’t made any claims in the past 12 months, we’d like to continue offering you and your family this discount. Please don’t hesitate to call or let us know if there is anything we can do to be of any assistance with your vehicle or homeowner’s policies.”
The above would have given me more of a warm and fuzzy, and incline me to call [my agent] to perhaps discuss setting up a life insurance policy once I get a new job lined up. I’m sure you can understand that right now is a tough time to be unemployed while having a family to support. The receipt of the email below, letting me know that I’ll be paying more on my insurance policy only makes me want to call the competition. I’d rather look for jobs than have to shop insurance policies, and I’d rather keep [you fine folks] as my insurance agency because you guys have been nothing short of fantastic in the past.
Please let me know if the above is an amenable agreement.
Half an hour later, I received the warm and fuzzy I was hoping for:
First of all, let me apologize for my previous email. It was not my intention to upset you and not make you feel warm and fuzzy. After rereading it, I realized it was not the proper way to approach the situation. We do value you as a client and truly appreciate your business. I understand times are tough and sorry to hear that you are unemployed. I do understand how it feels to have a family to feed, and less income…my husband also lost his job last year. Luckily I have a great job here with [your agent]. I did reapply the discount for you, and your renewal premium will remain the same. I feel totally awful for making you feel bad. Again, I apologize. Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions regarding your policies.
And Jane called me shortly after hitting send on her last email. She apologized profusely and reiterated that I was an important client. We even chatted for a few minutes about what her husband is doing now — he started his own business, and I told her that that was very admirable, and that I genuinely appreciated the phone call and the personal touch.
Even though I had to ask for it, our local insurance agency earned our business again, and now I’ll be more than happy to give them more of our business when the need arises.
When it’s all said and done, we’re only talking about roughly $20 per month either way. It turned out to be $20 in my favor, and in the end, everyone’s better for it. We saved money in the short-term, and the insurance agency will earn more of our money when we need to update our policy.
The simple moral: Take care of each other (clients, friends, colleagues, subordinates, strangers, superiors, whomever)