Renowned For Our Politeness

We’re renowned for our politeness in this country – with the exception of a few people. But I sometimes think it would be really good to say exactly what we think without holding back.

I spoke to a very nice gentleman earlier today, so I was naturally polite. However, if I had said exactly what I wanted it would have been a very different story. The conversation would have gone something like this:

ME: ‘Good morning. You’re through to…How can I help you?’

CUSTOMER: ‘Hello. I’ve just been looking on the internet at your boiler cover. Could you just run through what it covers for me? I’m looking at the one that is £.. a month.’

ME: ‘No problem. It states quite clearly on the internet what it covers, but if you wish me to tell you as well, here goes. It covers…just as it says in front of you.’

CUSTOMER: ‘Does it include a boiler service?’

ME: ‘As it quite clearly states on the internet, yes it does. It’s that big blue bubble that says free boiler service included. The one that’s stuck in the middle of the page. You can’t miss it.’

CUSTOMER: ‘Do you do cover for burst pipes and electrics as well?’

ME: ‘Well, you know the page you are looking at right now? If you glance ever so slightly to the right you will see our package cover with all of that included. That’s right, it’s right next to the boiler cover.’

CUSTOMER: ‘What does this one cover?’

ME: ‘I’ll run through it for you. You can follow the list on the web page as I’m reading it out to you. It covers…’

CUSTOMER: ‘What’s the price of this one?’

ME: ‘You see those big numbers with the pound sign in front of them? That’s the price.’

CUSTOMER: ‘How do I set this up?’

ME: ‘It can only be set up on the net. As it states.’

CUSTOMER: ‘I don’t know how to use the computer.’

ME: ‘Well you found our web page on the computer. You also found the boiler cover that you were interested in. You didn’t have too much problem there did you?’

As I say, the actual conversation on my part was more polite than this. Probably for the best. We do have customers like this very frequently, though. Not just about the internet site, but also about their documents. It’s very clear that they have the information in front of them, but they can’t be bothered to actually read it themselves. It’s easier to call us. Perhaps they’re hoping that we’ll tell them something completely different.


Please Know What You’re Ringing For Before Calling

A potential customer was asking me about the ‘gap’ in the supply pipe today. She explained that there was a gap in the pipe under one section of property. How the hell water was getting into her home with a gap in the pipe I really can’t explain.

She asked if we would cover this ‘gap’. I explained about our policy coverage. She then told me that her ‘household’ won’t cover this ‘gap’. I asked what she meant by ‘household’. I figured this could mean anything from meaning that hubby couldn’t fix it, family couldn’t fix it, landlord couldn’t fix it, lodgers couldn’t fix it, students couldn’t fix it, house insurance couldn’t fix it, and the list goes on.

She didn’t know what she meant by ‘household’ either.

She then asked about what the water board would do. I explained what the water board would do in regards to a burst on this pipe. She then asked me if I would ‘like to guess’. What the hell I was supposed to guess about I have absolutely no idea. She completely floored me with that one.

Now I know that most people aren’t technically minded. If I didn’t work at this company I wouldn’t have the knowledge about pipes, etc, that I have learnt. But why can’t some people have a basic idea of what they are talking about before they ring up a company? You don’t have to have the technical stuff. Just simple straight forward questions and then we can explain the technical stuff to you. We would prefer people not to call if they can’t even voice simple questions.

A bit of common sense wouldn’t go amiss either. If your water supply pipe has a gap then you won’t be getting any water and there’s probably a major problem. Very simple. Your watter supply pipe does not have gaps in it unless it’s burst or damaged.

And another thing – I don’t do guess work. If you want something conjured out of thin air go see a magician.

Internet Sales

I frequently get people phoning up asking me what the price is of the policies on the internet. Not a strange request in itself, but many of them inform me that they have the web site up in front of them at the same time. The price is is in very large figures. Very clearly seen.

My answer frequently starts with: ‘As it states on the internet…’ Then I have to remind myself to be patient as some people are just thick. They can’t be blind as they tell me which policy they are interested in. The policy details are in a smaller font. If they can see the details then there is no reason for them not to see the price.

Do they think that I’m going to give them a different answer? Some of the policies are only available on the internet, not over the phone, so why would I be giving them a different price? Or are they hoping that I’ll offer them a discount? There’s no chance of that.

Script Changes

As we are regulated by the FCA we have a script to follow when setting up a sale. In fact, there’s a bloody script for everything, but the main one is for a new policy. Anyway, this script is 12 pages long. Luckily we don’t have to read every word. A lot of it is guidelines and notes for us agents.

Quite frequently they change or update the script. Usually it’s a few words or a sentence here and there. Nothing major. But sometimes it’s whole segments that change.

This has happened in the last few days. Tuesday I’m told that the script for 2 policies have changed. I had a lieu day yesterday so wasn’t at work. I went in this morning to find that all the scripts have changed! Bloody marvelous.

There I was trying to figure out what was going on during my very first call at 8am. I almost missed details out. I would have been in big trouble. Luckily I took my time as soon as I realised that they had all changed, so I spotted where I had gone wrong and was able to correct myself straight away.

We have major penalties if we don’t pass our quality screening. This is where the company makes sure that we are reading the script to the letter and not deviating at all. If we pass our quality we get an extra bonus. If we fail we lose the extra bonus – which could be a few hundred pound. So when there are changes to the script, we get worried.

We read the script so many times that it becomes memorised, and reciting it becomes automatic. So when it changes it’s very easy to cock up.

Trying It On?

Yet again I had someone trying it on. Customer had set up a policy over the net knowing full well that it wasn’t a landlords policy. I was only alerted because he phoned in to query his payment details.

He tried saying that the landlords policies don’t cover certain things that he wanted covered, so he had set up the incorrect policy. He even tried blaming another company, saying that they had advised him to set up this policy! He wasn’t at all happy when I told him it was an invalid policy so no repairs would be done.

I reminded him that it stated on the internet that it wasn’t a landlords cover, and that the landlords policies were specifically detailed. He had obviously looked indepth because he knew of things on the terms and conditions. He must have thought that we were thick and wouldn’t notice!

Deaf Customers On The Telephone

A customer phoned through a few days ago and advised me that she was profoundly deaf. She wanted to renew her policy. I dutifully raised my voice by several octaves until she could just about hear me.

Because we are registered by the FCA there are scriptings that we have to adhere to. With my thoat aching and my voice beginning to fail I began to start on the one paragraph for renewals that we need to read out. The customer immediately began to complain and told me that she ‘hadn’t got a clue what I was on about’. I spoke louder and tried a few times to read this paragraph, and got the same response each time. She then decided to have a got at me.

She began shouting at me saying that all she wanted to do was give me her card number to renew her policy, and I was refusing to take it. I wasn’t. I was trying to do my job. While she was ranting and raving at me, which took several minutes, I decided it would be best to stay silent. When I had had enough I told her to send it in the post.

At this point my colleagues were doubled up with laughter. I was trying to keep a straight face, which was increasingly difficult, and the customer still said she couldn’t hear me and didn’t know what I was talking about.

If someone is that deaf why do they insist on using the telephone when they can send something in the post? My voice had almost gone by the time I had finished. She couldn’t hear me and didn’t understand anything I was saying. So why did she phone? The renewal letter has a reply form. Why make life difficult for herself and for other people? Did she think that she could just ring someone, give her card number to a person she couldn’t hear and it would be all safe and secure? The outcome of that kind of situation does not bear thinking about. Some people are definitely a threat to themselves.

Boiler Details?

First day back at work and I had to set up boiler policies. Not too bad, except that many people ringing in did not have the details of the boiler with them. ‘It doesn’t say you need that’, I was told on several occasions.

Surely it’s common sense that you need to supply the boiler details for an insurance. If you take out car insurance you need the details of the car. If you take insurance on your mobile phone you need the details of the phone. If you take a warranty on a kitchen appliance you need the details of the appliance. So why is it that people think a boiler policy does not need details of the boiler? Is it really difficult? Surely you don’t need a doctorate in nuclear physics to work this one out?

A Matter of a Simple Yes or No

A customer hung up on me today because I asked him to confirm his boiler details.

He asked me to take his boiler details from an old cancelled policy, in order to raise a new insurance policy.

I read the boiler make and model out to him and asked him to confirm that these details were correct. A simple question requiring a yes or no answer. His reply was ‘take the boiler details off the old policy’. I again asked him to confirm if they were correct. He then hung up.

What is it with people today?

We have to check all the details when we set up a policy. We are regulated by the FSA. Most of the questions we are required to ask, are to verify details, and a simple yes or no answer will suffice in most cases. Surely this can’t be too hard?

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