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:: A Good Way to Lose A Customer

We have been with the same insurance agent/agency for decades and enjoyed a friendly and yet professional relationship. We always felt we were being well taken care of and were somewhat concerned when we learned that our agent was retiring (he had earned that privilege!) and was selling his business to his son.

Because our life is relatively quiet, we have rare need to work with our insurance agent/agency so had only a few interactions with the new owner. While we weren't impressed with his knowledge and ability to answer our questions, we wanted to give him time to grow into his new job. Recently, while on vacation, we got a call from our agent's office asking us if we would please send a check asap for our "past due" premiums. My husband went online and confirmed with the agency that the checks for our insurance plans were paid and cashed several days ago by them and that we were not nor had we ever been "past due" on any payment.

The Administrative Assistant for the agency was befuddled and stammered that when a premium was one day overdue, she was instructed to call the client to secure payment. She was working from a list she was given and hadn't validated its accuracy. We hung up the phone shocked that the agency was clearly so desperate for money that it would call clients whose reputation for paying on time was well-documented for years and push for immediate payment on accounts that were not past due. Dilemma—tell our former agent/friend what is going on within his old agency so that he can guide his son? Talk with the new agent and offer some guidance from our long-term client perspective being very clear that we will move with our business if this happens again? Do nothing—we have bigger fish to fry? We opted for #2 so we'll see.

Customer Service Opportunity: Always double-check the accuracy of a past-due account before making any kind of call for payment. Also review the customer's past payment history so that you can put into context why their payment may be late (illness/death in the family; out of work due to COVID; etc.) and have alternative payment plans in mind if the payment is indeed late. Showing your desperation for money does not bode well for your customers to have confidence in you.

O.W. – Pennsylvania