Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Get the basics right first.... my Real Insurance experience continued

I'm not sure how many of you read my rant about Real Insurance a few days ago but I thought I'd update you on an interesting development.

Shock horror: I recieved a response... via my blog!

I find this interesting for a number of reasons;
1. They are reactive.... but only when the threat extends beyond the loss of an individual consumer
2. They responded.... but only in the public sphere (I am still to recieve a response to my three most recent emails but I must admit, my partner did recieve a phone call)
3. I have connections with a number of people who work at Real Insurance's media agency and have a sneaking suspicion that the action has been a result of their prompting

I am really happy that it seems that finally someone has taken an interest in sorting out this drama but it does raise a few questions for me from a communications perspective.

It was only after my ordeal entered the public space that I started to recieve a seminiance of customer service. In fact, I had even emailed customer service on two previous occassions to alert them of the problems I was having and didn't even recieve an automated response let alone a 'human' response.

So where does this leave other people who are insured by Real Insurance but don't have a blog, facebook account, LinkdIn profile or Twitter account by which to express their disdain? And what happens to those people who don't have the right connections in the right places (albeit digital connections) who can bring problems to the attention of those who may rectify them?

I think this is a perfect example of a company geared up with a smart marketing team who are making themselves present in all the right places (perhaps even with a listening strategy in place) but who don't have the established resources to follow up with the promises that their 'social personality' implies.

It is also a good exmaple of where the marketing team should take a step back and consider that the best marketing solution is not always an advertising or media solution. Surely, the social media budget wold have been better spent on employing people who can actually deliver the service they promise?

In this age of authenticity, it is a major oversight that a company would enter the social space without ensuring they can deliver on their promise and in my opinion a greater crime than not joining the conversation in the first place.

Pop a Soother at your next rave

I came across this campaign yesterday and was little disturbed by it.

It is a pop-up concert series that appears to be a collaboration between Nova & Soothers.

Now, I understand that Soothers must be trying to appeal to a younger audience and that they've found a need amongst this target for the product BUT, I also think there is a disconnect between the product and the space they are playing in.

I feel like Soothers are taking too big a leap of faith in jumping into the music space. My opinion on brands employing music as a communications territory and then social media as a comms channel is that they need to do it properley or they shouldn't do it at all. It feels like a stretch to be putting a brand that is all about coughs & colds into a youth oriented space.

I would actually argue that this will diminish the brands credibility as a medicated lozenger and their appeal amongst the younger generation will be as a confectionary not as a solution to sore throats.

This of course depends on whether or not they hit some decent numbers. At the moment, they've only got 92 friends on MySpace.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Creativity: Rad to the Power of Sick

I saw this showcased when we were in Cannes.

Basically a couple of creatives from Y&R decided to get creative in their description of a BMX listed on ebay. The results speak for themselves with the bike achieving 5 times its original price upon re-sale. Imagine how much the client would love you if you could drive 500% incremental growth on an existing product?!

It is a nice case study to reinforce Henry's statement last week that we need to be brave with our clients. It demonstrates that no matter how small the brief, how boring the product/topic may be, creativity rules in the end.

Customer service - a forgotten art

If you've had a conversation with me over the last six weeks it is likely that you will know that I have been struggling to deal with Real Insurance following an accident where my car was written off.

The circumstances are quite unbelievable. My boyfriend was stopped at a red light when another two cars were involved in a collision which spun out and involved our car to cause over $10K worth of damage. The result: 15 days of car hire (for which Real Insurance have reimbursed only 10 days), ongoing physiotherapy, a car that has been repaired but now deemed unsafe to drive because the repairs are so dodgy and six weeks of battling with Real Insurance to get any straight answers.... let me tell you, its not priceless.

Now, poor customer service has always been a pet hate of mine. Like many of us, I worked in retail whilst at school and uni and quickly learnt that the nicer you are to people the more favourable the response. So its got me wondering, why wouldn't the "real" people at Real Insurance also have learnt this?

I found this article about a country band whose instruments were damaged during a United Airlines flight. After battling to get any straight answers from the ailrine (much like me with Real Insurance), they posted a video that went viral. What most of the comments demonstrate is that this one incidence of bad service has now resulted in a huge number of people (over 3 million) who now have negative sentiments toward United Airlines and thus, are less likely to travel with them. Check it out here.

Now, my question to all of you - what can I do to achieve the following:
- Get Real Insurance to call me back or answer my emails
- Get Real Insurance to reimburse me for the out-of-pocket expense I've incurred
- Prevent anyone else from going through what I've had to go through

I need an executable idea that will cost me nothing and will damage this company's opportunity to put anyone else through the same traumatic experience. Obviously a video of my rant on YouTube isn't going to work!