Retention Rant

April 28, 2012 2:34pm
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I hate playing customer service games with companies. When I’ve been a loyal customer for nearly a decade, I shouldn’t have to go on Twitter to publicly complain or call up and threaten to leave in order to get a better deal for your services. If I call up and honestly express a concern that your prices are getting too high, that should be your cue to offer me something better – not call my bluff and wait to see if I actually have the guts to say those three magic words, “Cancel my service.”

Progressive just lost me as a customer today over exactly that situation. I’ve been shopping around for about the last month because we could stand to save a little money in our budget and I found that with esurance I could get slightly better coverage than Progressive was giving me for about $30/month cheaper. Now I’ve been a customer with Progressive nearly since I moved down to Florida – 2004 is when I switched, actually – so I wanted to at least give them the benefit of the doubt before switching, thinking that they’d come up with some random special discount to keep me on as a customer. Hell, they’ve managed to find plenty of random special reasons to increase my rates by about $20/month over the last year and a half, so fair is fair, right?

I think the customer service rep that got my call was honestly a little confused about what I wanted – why would a customer just call them up and ask for cheaper rates, honestly thinking that they’d get them?! The insurance company is the one that makes the rules, right? Well, she told me that unless I became a homeowner (yeah…) or joined their Snapshot Program (that could break my car at my expense), there was nothing else that she could do for me. I told her that I was disappointed and that I’d probably be calling back to cancel, she said ok, and that was that…

So this afternoon I called back to actually do the deed and now they’re all shocked that I want to leave! The first rep transferred me to another department (retention, no doubt) and I honestly laughed out loud when the new rep asked if there was anything she could do to make me stay. I told her that they could’ve offered me better pricing two weeks ago when I gave them the courtesy option before I had signed up with my new provider … and then there was disappointment on the other side of the phone. She explained that she was very sorry that my call had been mishandled earlier because they definitely could’ve done something … they have a whole department designed specifically to do something in this precise scenario. But at that point it was too late, I had just finished signing up online with esurance before calling to cancel Progressive, so it wasn’t like I could go back to them and say, “Yeah … nevermind, guys – they finally believe me now!”

I guess the part that really burns me, and I know that almost every service-based company operates like this, but seriously – I shouldn’t have had to get transferred to retention before I got treated like a valued customer!!! If the first rep had given me the same courtesy as I was trying to give them, she probably could’ve even just met me halfway and that’d have been enough because it’s kind of a pain to go through the process of switching and everything. But instead they wanted to play hard to get and in the end, a 9-year Diamond-Level Rewards customer walked away because they didn’t take me seriously enough when I just called up to say, “Hey, I really don’t want to leave, but your competition is offering me better rates – is there anything else you can do?”

Just a crazy thought – if you’d have worked just a little bit harder to keep me, now you wouldn’t have to work really, really hard to try and earn my business back again.  😳

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