I find it amazing how some companies treat their customers. Particularly, those that are existing customers and have been for a number of years.

Let me tell you a story.

The other week I received my car insurance renewal quote from Elephant. In the renewal letter it states the new premium price for the coming year and then tells me that if I am happy to renew then I need do nothing and the policy will auto renew.

Now, I have been with them for 6 years and have been happy to renew with them every year but this year I thought that I’d shop around to check that my quote was still competitive.

Shopping around on the GoCompare site around proved to be a very fruitful exercise as I was able to find the same if not slightly better policy for around 15-20% less than the premium that I had been quoted from Elephant. I was surprised at this and wondered how long I had possibly been paying too much for my insurance. I’m not alone in feeling like this. Here’s another Elephant story.

So, I called up Elephant intent on cancelling my policy or, at least, seeing what they had to say.

When I called and after the call had finished I was left with a puzzling question: Is it Elephant’s customer retention policy to ignore customers?

You see when I called the customer service number I got through to the menu and pressed the button to signal that I would like to talk to someone about cancelling my policy. This resulted in me being put on hold, where every couple of minutes I heard the hated message “your call is important to us….”.

Twelve times I heard that message that it became perversely funny in the end.

How important is my call, I wondered.

When the call centre agent did finally answer the phone she did apologise for the wait and told me that they were experiencing a ‘high volume of calls’. Is that another stock answer in call centre speak?

Anyway, as a customer, that means nothing to me.

What matters to me as a customer and a customer experience and service consultant is how a business responds when I or someone calls to cancel a policy. Isn’t it an opportunity to see what you can do to hold onto them as a customer?

I mean if we believe the old maxim that it is between 6-8 times more expensive to acquire a customer than to keep one then, surely, a cancellation signals an alert that you are about to lose a customer. I believe a customer focused company would be prioritising those calls as opportunities not placing them on hold and trying to placate them with twelve messages that their call is important.

Elephant claim to have smart people – they say that here(bottom of the page) on their website.

What do you think?

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