The world of insurance can be very challenging to understand and very confusing, especially when you look at a company that utilizes an agent-type model. There is one question that always seems to come up as it relates to that model – “Who owns the customer? Is it the agent or the brand?” There are mixed thoughts depending on which carrier you ask.
In my opinion, they both own the customer. We are all in business to help our customers prevent claims or help restore what is lost in a claim. It’s our job as agents and carriers to service that customer and provide the best experience possible while they are connected to the brand, especially when one of the pieces might not be hitting the mark with the customer.
Today, I want to share a story of how an automotive manufacturer sold two cars to one family on the same day and then delivered an exceptional post-sale customer experience. It happened, though, in spite of the sales rep and the brand being out of sync by not sharing information, which in different circumstances could have hurt the sale and put a ding in the brand’s image. This scenario is not unlike insurance with a carrier and agent, so stay with me as the principles are exactly the same.
At the end of May, my husband and I decided to lease two new vehicles. They were both the same make and model, but different colors. One was for me and the other for our daughter. We developed a game plan before we went into the dealership. We did a bunch of research. We knew exactly what features we wanted, how much people were paying for the car and what additional services were available. That afternoon, we went to the local dealership. We sat down and began talking about the specifics of the vehicle and what we wanted. The problem was that it appeared we knew more about the product and services than our sales rep knew. When we asked her a question, she would have to make a call or bring another person in the room. It wasn’t ideal, but at that point it didn’t really matter. We knew everything there was to know about the vehicle and were ready to move forward.
That day, we ended up purchasing both vehicles. I guess you could say we were a car salesperson’s dream. I mean how many people come in and buy two vehicles on the same day? My guess is not too many. In spite of the fact that the rep couldn’t answer our questions, we bought because we loved the brand. Isn’t that what every brand strives for – brand affinity? We signed papers and a week later picked up both our vehicles.
A few days later, there was a knock on my door. It was the UPS man with a big box. I love surprises! I opened the box and found a note from the automotive brand that read the following:
“Thank you for your purchase of your vehicles. This is just a little gift from us to help keep your vehicles looking clean. Enjoy your new Dyson vac! Your automotive brand family.”
Wow did I feel special! It was at that point that they moved me from just a loyal customer to an advocate. They created a special moment that cancelled out any negative thoughts I had throughout my customer experience. By turning me into a brand advocate, I went on to tell many this story, and now all of you.
Now I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you the last piece of the story. While this was a great example of what happens when a brand works together with an agent, retail rep, customer service rep, etc., it’s important to connect all the dots. I was very appreciative of the gift that the automotive brand sent my family. Later that afternoon, I stopped by the dealership to thank them.
When I told the vacuum cleaner story to my sales rep, she looked at me with this blank stare – she said she wasn’t sure what I was talking about. She didn’t hear of any promotions like that. How do a brand and agent go through all that work, and not connect the last few dots? I walked out and chuckled. I still love my vacuum and my two new cars.
I want to leave you with a quote as I think Sam Walton said it best…
“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”
To do this requires teamwork and communication between both the brand and the seller. When you work together, it can become legendary.