Friday, July 17, 2009

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!


Lisa said...

Agreed. Customer service appears to be disappearing before our very eyes.
Perhaps these companies are turning their attention too soon to tricky social media activation before they have the basics right?
So, if you're not looking to appear on ACA, and still looking for an outlet - perhaps you might want to drop 'Choice' a line...maybe a bit analogue but it's their gig and it won't cost you a dime.

Rebecca at Real said...

Hi Lauren,

I have spoken with the claims consultant dealing with your claim and have been advised that as you requested yesterday, she called your partner today about this claim and has also issued a reimbursement payment for your excess and for additional car hire.

I’ve been advised that your vehicle is still at your preferred repairer, and as such, the time taken to complete these rectifications is unfortunately out of our control.

I am happy to speak to you in more detail about your claim, and liaise with your claims consultant if needed. Please feel free to email me at (attention Rebecca S).

I also understand that you have the claims consultant’s direct line, so please feel free to call at any time.


Jessica said...

Obvioulsy effective Lauren! Best of luck...

Lauren C said...

Thanks for your comments.
@Lisa - good advice. It feels like 'service' outlets will soon be relegated to the advertising realms of fast food outlets where it isn't even expected that a burger will match the product advertised.

@Rebecca - Finally, a response! Thanks Rebecca. Mel (the supervisor) has now been in touch and is regularly updating us on the status of our claim. I still think its a shame that it wasn't until our issues entered the public sphere that there was any sort of reaction. This said I do appreciate the service that Mel is now providing.

@Jessica - it appears it does. The Fourth Estate in action?