I’m not a vindictive person; and, in general, I don’t believe in using blogs or social media to publicly chastise anybody. As a matter of fact, a good deal of my work as a professional focuses on helping clients build a positive brand image. So, this post will likely remain an exception. The company that got on my bad side is Generali, an insurance heavyweight in Europe.
Following a rather serious motorcycle accident in France in which both my son and I were injured, Generali decided to add insult to injury by (i) delaying compensation for my totaled bike beyond the point of reason, (ii) boosting stress levels by extending the use of my rental car only by two or three days at a time – over a seven-week period, (iii) lying about the status of certain administrative processes (e.g. ceasing ownership of my totaled motorcycle), and (iv) being just plain right incompetent and rude whenever I dared to follow up. The accident wasn’t my fault and Generali used to be my insurance company. They were supposed to have my best interest at heart and they failed miserably at that. I felt victimized all over again. I’m saying this after having endured frantic calls from the rental car agency over not having received confirmation for some of the various 3-day extensions, which nearly caused them to report the vehicle missing (on one occasion they pulled me out of a CT scan at the hospital), and their customer-defying delaying tactics, which severely limited my choices in procuring a replacement vehicle.
It goes without saying that my new vehicle isn’t insured by Generali. I’m also determined to move any other policies I have with them to another – more customer-centric – insurer.
That said, I’m aware that customer service is a concept that’s still not sufficiently understood, let alone adopted here in Europe. And while big business like Generali spends lavishly on advertising, marketing, and putting-on a friendly face on social media, they fail to reap the benefits of these initiatives by ignoring customer acquisition costs, customer retention, and customer attrition rates. Getting the customer is typically the hard and most expensive part. Keeping him happy by treating him fairly and with respect, along with delivering on your promises should come naturally. After all, that’s what reputable businesses do, especially if their business hinges on customers trusting them.