I’ve been a customer of the same insurance company since I was 16 — and I have grandchildren older than that who are insured by the same company.
I’ve been married for 14 years.
One local agency has had my homeowner’s insurance, the insurance on 3 cars, and an umbrella liability policy on some property we own for more than 20 years.
They’re nice people. But they cannot seem to get my name right. It nearly cost them a 40-year-customer a couple of years ago when a new employee in the agent’s office informed me that there WAS no policy holder with that name and I’d just have to call back when I had my insurance card with the policy number on it in my hand.
Since the card was, at that moment, in a Volvo sandwiched between a Dodge Ram Pick-up and a Ford Expedition, it wasn’t exactly handy — and the nice police officer standing there wanted verification of coverage RIGHT NOW, even though I was the victim caught between two gigantic trucks. Luckily, I got my husband on the phone and he brought the insurance card to me to satisfy the (patient) police officer. But if I had gotten a ticket because the new employee couldn’t figure out how to find someone with a hyphenated last name in their database, I would have gone insurance shopping.
Today, it happened again with another company I’d done business with for years. They didn’t get my name wrong — they got my company’s name wrong. On a gift sent to my office to congratulate me on my new job. I’m sorry, but a PR firm that is soliciting my business had BETTER get the name of my company right. What they put on the card wasn’t even close.
Right after that, I headed into a meeting with a consultant who was explaining exactly how important customer retention is, and why a turn-key solution to solve customer retention problems for a particular industry could be a great joint venture for our company, his company, and a strategic partner we both work with. We got to talking about the problem of retaining customers, and came to the conclusion that it’s really pretty easy.
It’s that Golden Rule thing our parents taught us. Using the magic words like “thank you for your business”. Paying attention to details (like getting the name right, doggone it). And listening to the customer. Some companies have it down perfectly, and deliver a “wow” experience every time. (Zappo‘s sets the gold standard, followed closely by Netflix and American Express — especially the Platinum Card concierge desk — in my opinion.)
Why can’t other companies treat customers the way they do? I like being brand loyal. I also like being treated as if I matter to the people with whom I spend money.