How Two Insurance Companies Reminded Me about Customer Service

Yesterday I had an experience that reminded me how important it is to provide the right tools and training to employees if we expect them to provide legendary customer service.

Fender Bender

My daughter was involved in a hit-and-run. (She got hit.) To get her car repaired, I filed a claim with my own insurance, making me responsible for the deductible. When the estimate was done, Allstate sent a check for the repairs less our deductible. Standard stuff. Then I found the guy who hit my daughter! That’s where things went sideways for the Good Hands company.

Now holding the scumbag’s information with Farmers, I called Allstate to pass on the info and get our deductible covered. They told me they would contact Farmers for full coverage, but then everything went into a black hole. For two weeks, I heard nothing except a badly worded email about how they were there to help.

Frustrated, I called yesterday to get an update from Allstate. After the claims agent heard my whole story and told me she had no additional information, I pressed harder and she revealed Farmers had been contacted that day according to her notes. (Guess what? That was new information!) She then suggested I call Farmers.

My call to Farmers was arguably the best experience I’ve ever had on the phone with an insurance company. The phone menu system was easy. I quickly got a live person. She immediately pulled up every detail we needed and even gave me the name and direct line to the person handling the claim. Then she connected me to my claims rep directly. Dejon was a gem. She pulled up the date a check was sent to Allstate, the amount, and even the check number. Then she walked me through any potential remaining issues .

Now back on the phone with Allstate, I re-explained the entire situation to the claims agent (God forbid their system keep notes from prior calls), but the responses I got made it clear she wasn’t listening or trying to help me. Completely ignoring the part about Farmers sending payment, she adamantly (not exaggerating here) made it clear that I’d still be responsible for my deductible and I didn’t understand insurance. I tried to explain to her that Farmers agreed to cover the entire thing, and she again told me I was wrong and that I’d be paying the deductible. So I told her I was hanging up and to have a nice day. *click*

The difference between the two companies couldn’t be more vast:

Allstate’s claims agents were both unable to give me any useful information. It seemed they were lacking tools to find what I needed. They were also just going through the motions of answering calls, not showing much care for the customer. There was clearly a low level of training for these agents in both customer service and product knowledge. They should have been able to help me much more effectively than they did.

The Farmers agents were well trained, knew their products and processes clearly, had the tools to access the exact information they needed, and provided it quickly, efficiently, and with an outstanding attitude.

Guess who’s going to get my insurance business in the future?

All of this reminded me to look back over my own training programs. Are my people trained in the tools and skills they really need to handle the tasks they’ll face on the front lines of customer service? Do they even have all the tools and all the knowledge they need? What do I need to improve?

Think through your training program. Are you at risk for a situation like Allstate, or set-up for a great experience like Farmers? What do you need to fix?

This entry was posted in Communication, Customer Service, Training. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How Two Insurance Companies Reminded Me about Customer Service

  1. Pingback: 7 Keys to Training Customer Service | Steven Potratz

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