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  • Writer's pictureR. A. T. Lab

From: Customer frustration, To: New Business opportunity

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Imagine you’re standing in front of an empty shelf in a store.

"Do you still have that item, it’s no longer on the shelf?" you ask the sales person.

What response would you get?

In 99% of all cases, especially in Germany, it would be: "If it's not on the shelf, we don't have it!"

Some annoying customers persist, albeit hesitantly. Apologetically. "Maybe you still have some in stock.... in the warehouse? 🥺"

The look of disdain from the salesperson😠, ends all further conversation.

Attempt #1

I really didn’t expect the same experience in today’s digital marketplace. On the search for a professional liability insurance, I was recently forwarded to a fully digital insurer by one of the insurance comparison sites. The first impression was positive, going by the digital products on offer, and the fact that it was run by an established insurer. To begin with, I was asked to select my profession. Makes sense, I thought. The list however didn’t include my profession of a "Consultant" (management consultant). I could select from “Fengshui consultant”, “Colour consultants” and a few other exotic kinds, none of which applied me. Fortunately, I spotted a “chat” for support, after a few failed conversation with the bot I got connected with a real human being! When I explained to him my problem with finding my profession on the list, his disgruntled reply was simply "If it’s not in the list, we don't have it!" Why bother handing me from the chatbot to a human at all?

Lesson - Know your customer's unmet needs

A terrible shame, I’d say. Another missed chance to win a new customer, to close another deal. Why, even to expand your offering - products and services to listen to, understand and finally address unmet customer needs!

Attempt #2

My colleague heard of my tales of woe, and tried her luck with an online competitor. Initial progress, as in my case, was quick and easy. It was very helpful to find the support contact numbers right away on the home page. She picked up the phone and called them immediately, obediently following the number selection bread crumb, as instructed by the robotic switch board. She finally did reach the right department, only to learn that policies were not offered directly by the insurer at all - only through their designated brokers! The carrier, however, was not at liberty to forward customers to one of their many brokers – that would be favouring one broker over the other. Instead, my colleague was advised to go back to the homepage where she had found this number, there she should find a list of brokers and their contact numbers.

Lesson - Don't make your problem, your customers' problems.

There would have been at least a dozen other ways to provide the customer a seamless interaction between the insurance carrier and broker. Instead, the industry decided to hand this problem back to the customer to resolve. Is this just laziness or lack of insight of the customers’ experience?

Attempt #3

She moves over to another provider. This one promised a fully digitised quote experience. An online calculator asked for some basic information - Revenue, Countries of operation, Type of Consultancy, etc. So far, so good. As with any online calculator, she tried playing around with some parameters to test how it corresponded to the calculated Premium. For every single change in the online calculator, whether it affected the calculation or not, a new quote email was sent. About 40 emails later (I kid you not), she still hadn’t got to the Premium relevant parameters. For those parameters, it turns out, changes to the original entry were not allowed. She calls support, shares the system generated Quote number, and asks for assistance with editing the Premium relevant parameters in the form.

At this point, there is clear exasperation from the person on the other end. “The system is new and still has many bugs” she snorts irritably. It would be very helpful to just tell her what policy is required rather than try and trouble shoot the system. Back to square one!

Lesson - Internal processes should enable a better customer experience.

The customers’ frustration at the loss of work and time attempting to self-serve is discounted, even overlooked. Instead, internal process, people and systems take precedence.

Attempt #4

Sure enough (or maybe not so), we do find a digital vendor that even has a dedicated page for consultants. Lo and behold, the said product is even on offer for an immediate digital sign up. Some questions remain about the correct operational activities covered. Again, the analogous path with the telephone, we find, is the most reliable. Sometime passes before a specialist for Professional liability calls back. On asking him what kind of activities exactly would be covered, the man on the telephone retorts: "It doesn't matter, it’s all the same price!" Well then, now I am insured!

What we have concluded from out RATty Customer experience is,

  • Do a search on yourselves, on your own services - How are you found?

  • Try to be your own customer and experience your own services – How accessible are your offerings?

  • Most of all – think about how you can turn a negative customer experience into a sales opportunity!


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