I Understand Completely!

A customer said that she understood completely! Well I’ve heard that one many times over.

‘I’m an agent ringing on behalf of the landlord.’ She told me. ‘I want to know when the policy expires.’

I explained that we had no details of the agents on our system, and no permission from the policy holder to discuss the details with anyone. However, I offered to check how much information I could give without breaking regulations.

‘I can give you the expiry date,’ I told her, ‘but I can’t discuss any of the policy or payment details as we have no permission from the policy holder.’

‘That’s fine.’ She said. ‘I just want the date it expires. I understand completely that you can’t discuss the details of the policy.’

So I gave her the date that the policy was due to expire, not mentioning anything about the policy, not even what it was called.

‘That’s great.’ She thanked me. ‘Now can you tell me what it covers?’

As I mentioned above, I’ve heard the ‘I understand completely’ many times before, and 9 out of 10 customers obviously don’t understand!

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Third Parties

I’ve mentioned before about third party callers and the fact that we can’t discuss policy details with them. Not without the express permission of the policy holder or a copy of the Power of Attorney. Most people understand this. It’s only the few that complain relentlessly trying to get us to back down. There are times when we can give generic information – trying to answer questions without discussing a person’s policy.

A gentleman called me the other day, on behalf on his friend who was in hospital. He explained that his friend had received a renewal and he wanted to let us know that he would get her to send in a cheque. Well I could see quite clearly that the policy had already been paid but I couldn’t discuss this with him due to the FCA regulations. So I tried to tell him without telling him.

‘I’m going to see her tomorrow in hospital.’ He explained. ‘So I’ll take her cheque book and get her to write it out and then I’ll post it for her.’

‘When you see her tomorrow get her to double check that she hasn’t done it already.’ I told him. I thought this was pretty clear. The play on words – ‘double check’ – and the inference that she may have done it already.

‘She hasn’t done it. She’s in hospital.’ He said. ‘I’ll get her to do it tomorrow so don’t cancel her policy.’

I repeated what I had said hoping he would understand the second time around. He didn’t. So I tried a more direct tactic. ‘You know that I can’t discuss the details with you, but if you listen closely to what I’m saying then you’ll see that I’m telling you something without giving you direct information.’

‘Ok.’ He seemed to understand this so I said it all over again.

‘Ok. I’ll get her to look through the cheque book.’ He said cautiously.

I left it there. I felt that I’d told him as much as I could without directly stating that it had been paid. I got the impression that he still didn’t understand what I was saying, but at least I got him to say that he would ask his friend to look through her cheque book before sending in another.

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My Boiler?

One of my colleagues recounted a call she had from a gentleman wishing to insure his boiler. She began by asking for the details of his boiler: make, model, age, fuel. The customer then became totally confused by this and wanted to know if my colleague was discussing his boiler. As he rang us with the intention of insuring his boiler you’d have thought it was pretty obvious that my colleague wanted the details of his boiler and not ours.

‘Do you mean my boiler?’ He asked. Followed by: ‘Are we talking about my boiler?’

He asked several times before my colleague had even begun to set up the policy. When she did start to set it up she informed the gentleman that she needed to check the eligibility of the property and would be asking him a few questions.

‘Is this a quiz?’ he asked.

‘No. It’s just a couple of questions to make sure the property is eligible for the cover.’ She told him.

‘This is a quiz. I need to get my pen and paper to help me.’ Was his reply.

There are times when we find it very difficult to get through a call!


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Read or Listen

I’ve mentioned this subject a few times about people who go on the net and then ring us for the information that is right in front of them, or ring us asking about a product and then not listening to what we are saying. It’s a very common occurrence and very annoying. I had a very nice lady doing exactly this a few days ago.

It normally takes about 10 minutes to set up a policy. This particular one took over 45 minutes. Not because it was a difficult policy or because there was too much information for me to give out. No. It took ages because the customer hadn’t bothered reading the information on the net – where she saw the policy – and hadn’t decided whether she wanted excess or no excess. In fact she changed her mind 3 times during the call. She also asked many questions – all of which were answered on the web.

I managed to keep myself calm and patient throughout the call. This is quite an achievement for me. I have very little patience with people who are lazy or thick. Several times I had to say to her ‘..no, I didn’t say that…’ and then repeat what I’d said, because she clearly wasn’t listening to my answers when she asked a question. For an example of how the call went throughout the 45 minutes, I told her the payment options and said there was no further charge whichever way she chose.

‘I want to pay monthly. Is there any further charge?’ She asked.

I was very glad when I had finished the call.

Conversation With a Colleague

I have often written about the calls I receive from customers, but I’d like to share an internal conversation this time.

A few days ago one of my colleagues received a call from a lady kindly informing us that the policy holder had sadly passed away. Mrs X said that she was the new owner of the property and had received a letter from us addressed to the deceased. My colleague investigated this and found that an internal department had been attempting to contact the deceased customer – Mrs Z.

Problem was that this particular department had finished work at 5pm and had all gone home. My colleague wasn’t in the next day so she asked me to give them a call and let them know what had happened.

This is how the call went:

ME: Morning. This is…in…I’m ringing for a colleague who received a call last night from a lady informing us that the policy holder has passed away. Mrs X is the new owner of the property. She’s had a letter from you guys addressed to the deceased, Mrs Z. You had finished work last night, so my colleague couldn’t call you. She’s asked me to let you guys know, as you have been trying to contact Mrs Z. My colleague has also put notes on the system for you.

AGENT: Do you have the customer on the phone?

ME: No. The customer has passed away. The new home owner called us to let us know that Mrs Z has passed away. She called last night.

AGENT: We’re doing a review on the policy as it’s one that was set up when there was an error on the system. Is Mrs Z’s husband on the phone?

ME: No.

AGENT: We’ll continue with the review then we’ll give the customer a ring to let her know if we’ve found anything wrong.

ME: You won’t be able to do that. Did you not hear what I said? Mrs Z has passed away. There is a new owner in the property.

AGENT: Oh. Hold on please. I need to speak to the manager.

ME: No problem.

AGENT: I’ve spoken to the manager. Do you have the husbands address?

ME: No. I didn’t take the phone call. My colleague did. I’ve told you this already. My colleague took the call. The new home owner rang in to let us know that Mrs Z has passed away. My colleague asked me to call you guys to let you know as she is not in today. I have now told you. If you care to read the notes on the system, as I’ve already pointed out to you, then you will understand what I’m saying.

AGENT: Well I don’t know what we’re going to do here.

ME: Talk to your manager again. I’ve told you. Bye.

My patience had run out by this time.

Lies And False Accusations

It’s not a pleasant experience to be accused of something you haven’t done. It’s happened to me in the past. You get the odd idiot hoping to cause trouble because you have something they don’t have or you have achieved something they haven’t. They didn’t succeed. It’s often quite easy to turn the tables against people like that. But when the lie is a potential treat to your job then it’s a different story.

I answered a call yesterday to be greeted with a woman demanding to be put through to another department. She barked names at me but had no extension numbers. With a company of several thousand people it’s a bit difficult to find the person you want without an extension number. I figured there may be some kind of note on the system so I asked for her details, also explaining to her that I would need to pass on her details to the other department. This is standard company procedure, politeness, and also data protection. We need to know that we are speaking to the policy holder and not someone masquerading as such.

She gave me her name and then informed me that I was wasting time and should put her through immediately. I politely explained again that I needed her details. Other people would refuse to take the call unless DPA had been done. In fact I explained this several times very patiently, while she had a go at me. It was all in vain. She had no intention of giving me any information.

So with no details, no way of looking to see if there were any notes on the system, I informed her that if she was not prepared to give me any information then there was no point in continuing the call. I said ‘goodbye’ and hung up.

About 40 minutes later she called back and spoke to one of my colleagues. Same thing. She wouldn’t give him any details, but kept barking orders at him. However, she did tell him that she had spoken to me previously and that I seriously needed disciplinary action because I had sworn at her. She then hung up on him.

My colleague had to act on this straight away. An agent swearing to the customer is gross misconduct and employment can be terminated immediately.

He took the details to the relevant folk who have access to the call recordings. They managed to track my call down. This was listened to within minutes. Thank the Gods that the call was recorded. My colleague informed me that it was found that I had not sworn at the customer. In fact, they said I was polite and had handled the call correctly. I was vindicated.

This woman had deliberately and maliciously tried to get me into trouble, to the extent that I could have lost my job if it hadn’t have been for the fact that our calls are recorded. Just because she didn’t want to give me her details or confirm who she was.

This was plain ignorance and there is no justification for this type of nastiness. All she succeeded in doing was making me livid, and now none of us what to speak to her or help her. In fact she may even find that we are extremely slow and are having problems with the system and the phone lines every time she calls us in the future.

With any luck she will develop the biggest puss filled boil on her backside that will plague her for months to come.

Margaret Road Wednesbury WS10 7QT 07505067286 naturalmatrixtherapy@outlook.com By appointment only, so please contact me to discuss available times.