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“Customer Experience is not just about

passion. It is about profitable results.”

~Lior Arussy

A Tale of 2 Companies: Contrasting Customer Experiences

Posted: Jun 06, 2014 by Lior Arussy

Following the flooding of my basement, I was quickly introduced to two different companies who handled the same issue in contrasting ways. 

Quick background: My basement flooded while I was on vacation with my family in California. Chubb is our insurance company. Chase holds the mortgage on our house.  I discovered that while Chubb was committed to a speedy resolution of the issue, Chase decided they were going to hold onto the insurance money until they decided if and when to compensate us (even though the mortgage represents less than 50% of the house value).

“We did not authorize for you to start the work on fixing your basement,” was the answer of the Chase representative, when we asked for the insurance funds to be released so that we could pay the contractors working on our house. (Were you seriously expecting me to sit in the flooded basement until you decide to approve work? Were you listening to yourself?)

Instead of recognition of and empathy for a desperate situation, Chase decided to take a heartless, bureaucratic approach- an approach seemingly geared towards keeping the funds as long as possible. I fully understand that some people who go through such experiences may be defaulting on their mortgage and Chase wants to protect itself, but I am not one of them and a one size fits all approach fits no one. All it does is treat your best customers as cheaters and liars. 

At the moment, funds have not yet been released. I am paying contractors from my own money and Chase keeps pointing us toward a variety of papers and forms we need to fill out. There seems to be no sense of urgency or desire to truly resolve the situation.

As a customer in this situation, here are some lessons I’ve gathered:

Empathy goes a long way- be human first and then follow procedures.

When we first called Chubb to report the flooding, their immediate response was something along the lines of, “Do what you need to do and we’ll cover the costs.” They respected that we were feeling down and that all we needed was that message of, “It’s going to be okay.” There were obviously procedures to follow but reassurance was their first priority (as it should be).

Chase handled things very differently. They made sure to delineate every aspect of the process. As a co-signee on our insurance check, they took to controlling the money Chubb was empathetically providing us with. That means that, in theory, they would issue a third of the amount after 7-10 days of evaluation and paperwork submission. Meanwhile, our basement would be rotting if we hadn’t started work.

Time is of the essence.

As timing is key when it comes to cleaning up floods, we started paying for the work out of our own pockets. The considerate Chubb experience, where we had a specialist come out for assessment within 2-3 days during the remediation process, was almost made obsolete when Chase withheld the check.

Similarly, Chubb was understanding of the urgency of fixing our basement and advised us to start the work and get bids while they reviewed the assessment. They would sort out any inconsistencies between the bids and their evaluation. Within two weeks the process was complete: from the initial call-in to receiving of the check. Fast forward three weeks and Chase still holds the full amount from the check.

Follow-up: Don’t have us chase you (no pun intended).

This is all happening as we’re submitting form after form for Chase while there were only invoices required for Chubb. Even though Chase wants all of this paperwork, there hasn’t been consistent follow-up. If we’re delayed in submitting documentation, what does it matter to them? It’s not their basement that’s inaccessible.

On the flip side, Chubb sent a follow-up email after every phone call and assessment. And most of the time it wasn’t because of what they wanted us to do but simply to inform us of what they were doing.

 

“Loss” is a situation no one wants to be in. The customer really can’t feel much worse… unless you create a system that does just that. This is an opportunity to really delight, to really please someone coming to you with a problem that isn’t really yours. You don’t have to fix anything you’ve done, which already puts you on better ground with the complaining customer.

While Chubb scored big time and demonstrated that it was committed to a long-term relationship with me, the customer, Chase did exactly the opposite. They made a point to assume that I was a suspect, rather than a customer. They ignored my distress and chose to follow a robotic, textbook process rather than relate to me on a human level.

And now I’m left still chasing my money. Pun fully intended.

 

Read more on the Strativity blog: 

5 Customer Experience Lessons We Can Learn From Wisconsin

Creating a Culture of Employee Delight

Evolving Customer Experience – Businesses Can Embrace a Culture of Feedback

Get Outside the Box: Employee Training in the Mud

The Power to Serve: Let Employees Make Mistakes – You’ll be Better Off

My Best Buy Journey: The Six Stages of an Awkward Customer Experience

10 Steps to Customer Feedback and Dialogue Excellence – Are You Looking at the Past, or the Future?