This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to 21st Century Insurance.
I have had insurance with 21st Century since I bought my car in 2008. I never had any claims, problems or anything in those years. So when I received a cancellation noticed, you could imagine my surprise.
I paid, in full, my current amount due but in two different installments. As far as I knew, everything was fine. It seemed to
send their system into a frenzy and I was the one to blame.
So I called. We know the person we initially talk to has a certain amount of power as far as making changes to accounts. But what I found out from talking her, who was friendly and helpful, was that my first payment – because of the billing cycle – was not applied to what I owed but it was applied to all of my monthly payments deducting each one by $20 and was considered an overpayment.
First of all, what? I owe money and you’re not applying it to what I currently owe? Second of all, why is this even an option?
As soon as I found out that she couldn’t help me, I asked for a manager. This manager listened to the problem and basically said that she couldn’t do anything to help me. I asked her a question, and she said, “I’m sorry we can’t do that because you’re in cancellation status.”
Remember, this cancellation status wasn’t my fault. I paid everything owed but in two installments, and that was apparently unacceptable. It wasn’t until I threatened to switch insurance companies that she was willing to contact the billing department and get this fixed. Needless to say, I ended up switching companies as soon as I was done talking to 21st Century and have saved $700 a year.
Lesson Learned: Customer service, scratch that – GOOD customer service, is the cheapest but most important aspect of business. If your customers are happy, they have no reason to shop around and possibly change companies, brands, or move their loyalty somewhere else! So the question is: what have you done today to make a customer happy? Did you smile? Say Hello? Make your customers feel welcome? Reassess how you and all of your employees look like from the outside. It might be a lot different than what you thought it was.