Service differentiates: The insurance company vs. mechanic story

I have been in the service industry for the majority of my career. I am tuned to evaluating good and bad service. My family gets a little tired of me evaluating almost every service experience we have.

I have recently had a good and bad experience with two businesses that are notorious for poor service.

 

The Insurance Company

Last month I was in a car crash. Some guy driving a truck crunched the trunk of my car like an accordion (which is exactly what you want so that you are safe in the cabin). Fortunately, neither one of us was injured. What was unfortunate was that my 16-year-old car was “totaled”.

It was clear that the crash was the other guy’s fault so I got to work with his insurance company. In the insurance company’s eyes, it was clear that I was not considered a customer when:

  • more than a week went by before anyone even looked at my car
  • two weeks of back and forth to negotiate an assessed value
  • I was approved for only an 8 day rental for this month-long ordeal

During this time, I was asked several times to sign and send the title to my car. After we finally agreed on the settlement I sent them the signed title. After another follow-up a week later, my title was found it in a pile. A month after the crash, I am still waiting for the check.

This company is a new (but sizable) company to the region where I live. They may not see me as a customer but they know that I am never going to be a future customer of theirs. My local friends and family all know about this experience and now they will never be customers either. The insurance company is losing a lot more than my claim.

The mechanic

As a result of this crash, I found a replacement car and bought it. I wanted to get the oil changed and diagnose the “check engine” light (which recently turned on).

I had researched mechanics closer to my house and found one that I thought I could trust. I made an appointment and discussed what I wanted done. I agreed to the quote prices.

The mechanic could find nothing wrong with the car. The computer reported a possible problem with two parts of the engine. After thoroughly checking and doing some test driving the mechanic still could not find anything that would cause the “check engine” light to come on.

I asked the person from whom I bought the car. He reminded me of the conversation we had when I bought the car. The car has a bug that causes the “check engine” light to come on. His mechanic also could never find anything wrong with the car.

This mechanic could have made some dishonest money from me. He could have lied to me or charged me for something he didn’t do. But instead he established trust and I am now willing to pay extra for the peace of mind I can buy. My local friends and family also know this experience and he may earn even more business now.

Both of these businesses had a choice to see me as a customer. In these cases they also had an opportunity to earn a repeat customer and earn more money. You have probably heard that keeping a customer is easier and cheaper than finding a new customer. In this economy service is what makes the difference.

When have you had really good service?
When have you had a really bad service?

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