UK Postcode Lottery – FREE

Everyone in the UK has seen the advertisements for the Postcode Lottery. Pay £10 a month and you could win a few quid if your postcode is picked out. Well, there’s an internet based Postcode Lottery that is free. Yes, you read that right – FREE.

It’s run by a guy by the name of Chris, a web developer, and it’s paid for by the advertisers on the site.

To take part just click on the link and enter your email address, and your postcode – don’t forgot that. You have to check the website every day to see if your postcode has come up. And remember to not only check the main draw, but also check the stackpot and survey as there are prizes up for grabs there also. You get a reminder email each day.

Free Postcode Lottery:

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Internet At Work

We’ve at long last been given some access to the internet at work. It’s been a long time getting and it’s very limited. However we are able to do a bit of Christmas shopping while doing our work, on Amazon and Ebay. Trouble is we can’t be in when it’s delivered as we’re at work!

Next week is Black Friday when many stores cut their prices – just in case you didn’t know. Could be some good Christmas bargains out there. Enjoy your shopping!


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Make Up Your Mind

The other day I had a woman call in who definitely didn’t know what she wanted. I had to be very careful as we are non-advised sales. All I can do is give information about our policies after the customer has said what they want covered.

Well this woman could not make up her mind at all. She had the internet up and was giving me the name of policies on our website. She kept changing her mind about the cover she was interested in, asking me questions after I had already given her the answers. I kept my patience all the way through.

Eventually she settled on the policy that she wanted, so I began to set it up. She then decided she didn’t want it to start straight away so I told her she would have to ring back on the day she wanted it to start. She wasn’t happy about this but agreed to it. The call went on for about 20 minutes with her chopping and changing her mind. And this is after all the information is on the website, which she had in front of her.

We don’t mind people calling up asking questions about policies, but when someone clearly has no idea what they actually want then we are they calling up? Surely if you own your own home and you are looking for insurance, you will have some idea of what you actually want? Or am I very naïve? Answers on a postcard….

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Internet Access

My company recently decided to give the call centre email and internet access. You’d have thought that in the 21st century we would have had this many moons ago. It’s great to get it.

We can’t email customers. We can’t use the email for personal use. The managers can send us briefs by email so they have proof that we’ve had the information. These are briefs that we do not have time to read. We do not have time to take the information in. But we’ve had it so if we cock up we’re in deep crap. Tough.

Internet access is heavily restricted. We can view websites where the company is doing business. Surprise! We can’t access religious sites, charities, jobsites, or even blogs. Yes, it’s a blog band blanket ban. Trying saying that fast.

So what can we do on the internet? We can shop. That’s right. Here’s your pay now get spending. Oh, and while you’re spending just take a look at the company’s new ads as we’re now doing business with this online retailer. Great stuff.

We can’t get away from the buggers even when we’re at home!

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Digital Chat

I had the opportunity to sit with our digital chat guys today. I found it very interesting. They do very much the same as what I do but they do it online whereas I’m on the telephone.

Customers can chat on the net to one of our agents, and get questions answered about the policies they are looking at. Interestingly these digital guys also get the occasional rude customer! They also get the jokers, the let’s-get-straight-to-the-point customers, and the chat room addicts.

They can monitor the visitors on the website in depth. They know where they are logging on from, how many times each individual has visited the website, how long they’ve been on there, what pages they’re looking at. Sometimes it even provides the customers postcode.

Although I use the net a lot, I’m not a computer tech whiz at all. When I saw just how much information was being picked up from a customer logging on to our company site, it was surprising, if not a little intimidating. Do we want companies accessing so much information this easily? I get the feeling that this will become more in depth in the future as there doesn’t seem to be any legal restrictions on it. I bet some of the bigger companies are already picking up so much personal information about a customer they could probably have access to everything the customer has.

So be aware next time you’re on the net, of how much information you are giving away just be logging on to a website.

Long Weekend Over

Well this lovely, long bank holiday weekend has now finished and I’m back at work. And of course today was crazy! Call after call after call. Some pleasant, some downright awkward, and some unbelievably stupid.

I also had a few people trying very hard to hide their accent and speak in a posh voice. We get this from time to time. Nothing wrong with it at all. There are times when each of us try to speak better, for instance if we’re ringing the bank manager. You can always tell when someone is trying to get their pronunciation and grammar right on the phone. There’s a lot of ‘Ers’ and ‘Ahrs’, a lot of clearing the throat, and the customer always seems to have difficulty telling us what they actually want. If they spoke as they normally would they’d get to the point quicker and save a lot of time.

I also had the obligatory internet call. This is where the customer is looking at the internet when they decide to call. It’s always the same procedure. They tell me they want a quote on a particular policy. I ask them how they heard about it. They tell me they’re looking at it on the internet, to which I ask them for the name of the cover. They rarely know the name even though it is on the web page that they are looking at, but they can always tell me the price. So they’ll say something like ‘I’m looking at the £60 cover without excess’.

‘Ok, I know which one it is now. How can I help you with this?’

‘Can you give me a quote?’

‘It’s the price that you’re looking at.’ Is my normal answer.

Will It Change?

A customer called to ask the details of a particular policy. Turns out that his property was not suitable for the policy in question, so I explained this to him and gave him the details of a more suitable cover. He then decided to ask me whether the policy would change if he bought it.

Did he think I was lying to him? If he bought a policy that didn’t cover certain items would we cover them if he had called to claim? Do policies miraculously change from one thing to another when you purchase them?

The answer is no on all accounts.

I can’t lie about what is and isn’t covered. That would be blatant miss-selling and I’d be in very serious trouble. So would the company. And if we say that something isn’t covered then it isn’t. Simple as that. You can buy the policy and try to claim but you won’t get anywhere. Especially when our calls are recorded so we have it on record that we told you.

Oh, and don’t buy it on the internet. It still won’t change.

Marvellous Mistakes

Speaking to some of the customers who phone us, I often wonder how they manage to get by from day to day. I know we all make mistakes it’s what us humans are known for. But some mistakes made by us mortals are worthy of being mentioned. Take a lady who phoned in a few days ago. She told me she’d received a letter from us stating that we had received her cheque but didn’t know what it was for.

‘Yes,’ I told her, ‘we’ve received your cheque, but you didn’t attach an application or reply slip or renewal, so we don’t know what you’ve sent it in for.’

‘I can’t remember,’ she told me.

‘Well we haven’t got a clue, so we’ll send it back to you. You can send it back when you’ve remembered what it’s for, and don’t forget to mention it when you send the cheque back.’

Or how about the woman who phoned in asking about a particular policy that is on special offer on the internet. I informed her there was an offer on but she could only set it up online.

‘I don’t want to set up a policy online. How much is it over the phone?’

‘It’s £17 a month over the phone and £13 on the net at the moment.’ I told her.

‘I’ll do it over the phone,’ she announced.

So be it. It’s the customer’s choice!

Or, how about the guy who was trying to find the details of his boiler. He told me the model of it, a model I knew quite well. I asked if there was anything else on the boiler as I needed the make.

‘No. There’s nothing else on the boiler. Where will I find the make?’

‘Does it say…on the boiler?’ I asked, even though he’d said there was nothing else on there.

‘Oh, yes. It does say that. Now where will I find the make?’

And, of course, I also make mistakes. I think one of the most common mistakes made by myself and my colleagues is getting the gender of a customer wrong. Because we deal with people on the phone and not face-to-face it’s sometimes difficult to determine whether the person is male or female. Customers often give just initial and surname. Most people would probably think that it’s quite simple to just ask, ‘what’s your title?’ Trust me, it’s not simple. Most of our customers don’t know what ‘title’ means. And when you ask, ‘is it mr, mrs, dr, professor…’ and are answered again with initial and surname you just give it up as a complete waste of time.

Sometimes getting details off customers is the hardest job of all.

What’s The Price?

Today was another day of ‘here-we-go-again’.

‘I’m looking at your…cover on the website. The one that’s £19 a month. Could you tell me what it covers and what the price is?’

‘As you just told me the price is £19 a month. As you can see it covers…’ Was my reply.

What is it with people? When a person tells me they are looking at the policy they are ringing about why do they need to ask questions about it? Especially when they have already told me the answer to the exact question they are asking, and they have the full details in front of them.

Another customer asked: ‘I am looking at the cash back offer. It says £29.50 a month. Is that correct?’

What does he actually expect me to say apart from ‘yes it’s correct’. Maybe I should say ‘no it’s not right at all. We just put anything on the net. It’s ok to advertise anything for any price on the net. When you set it up we’ll charge you something completely different.’ I’m sure customers would enjoy that.

Is it really so hard for some people to realise that what they are looking at is the actual information and won’t change if they ring us? Do they not realise that we can’t advertise a product unless it has the correct information? If we didn’t we would get fined and possibly closed down. I don’t think the company will want to risk that somehow.

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.

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