Two of my children (Jess and Phoebe) once worked in The Hut Group during their summer holidays to make some money.
They enjoyed the people they worked with but got really frustrated that so many of the issues customers raised, and were angry about, should have been simple interactions that they thought would be naturally seamless and positive.
Instead they, and the customers calling in for help, were frustrated by processes and rules that made no sense to the team answering the calls and bore no resemblance to any logical, real-life situation the customer could have expected.
Their experiences came back to haunt me last week when I received a letter from the company that insures my boat.
A little bit of back story
- Towergate Insurance have insured my boat for over 10 years, they have recently and happily re-insured my new engine, after I had to replace the broken one and had given no indication at that stage anything was amiss.
- My renewal is up, a letter drops through the letterbox and it asks me to call them on a direct number to check some details, not even a hint about what was coming next!
- So I call the “direct” number, which goes through to a lady who informs me it’s the wrong number and seeks to transfer me, 30 minutes later I get through to the “right person”. She then informs me, in a very positive way, that they will no longer insure my boat due to the claims record of the area I keep it!! What a waste of time that was!
- I was left frustrated that they kept me hanging on for so much time, to basically tell me to p**s off!! What is the point in that?
- I hung up and had to find an alternative supplier. This left both me and I am sure the lady on the other end of the line in a less than positive mood.
What did I learn from this experience?
So, what have I done as a customer? I have shifted my household policy from them and I have bad mouthed them everywhere I have the opportunity to – and I am aware of at least five people who are actively changing their arrangements.
The lesson here is that if you need to disinvest in an audience you can’t afford to serve, or if you are changing the focus of your model which excludes some customers, then at least be straight and honest as it will help both parties.