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Is there anything else I can help you with?

Anything I can help you withI had to contact my old home insurance company the other day. We have moved house and despite having cancelled the insurance and the direct debit on the previous house we got renewal papers through.

What struck me first was how expensive it would be compared to the prior year. We live in an age where companies love to get new business by offering attractive first year deals but then look to recoup any first year discount as soon as possible. This doesn’t necessarily drive the most effective client behaviour as it encourages clients to shop around but I guess they work on the basis that a significant proportion of clients can’t be bothered to do so. They benefit from the inertia factor. The focus appears to have shifted from looking for long term/lifetime clients and offering them loyalty discounts for staying, to, chase new business and try and retain them for as long as possible.

Linked to this, when I phoned to explain that I didn’t want to renew I had the normal range of – for new policies press 2 etc but if you wanted to cancel then it was a “hot line” -presumably you got through to someone who was more highly trained and whose task was to try and retain you. I explained my situation and the fact that I no longer needed the policy so would not be renewing. They dealt with that part of the call but wanted to know where I lived now and of course what cover I needed on my new house. Reluctantly I gave them my new address so that they could send a confirmation letter about the cancellation but I explained that I already had cover on that property and did not want a quote. Later I did receive the cancellation letter with of course a quote – which was significantly cheaper than the renewal! I didn’t switch.

I’m not complaining about the call which was dealt with well overall but once the business part was dealt with the employee said- “is there anything else I can help you with?” I know that companies want to take every opportunity to “upsell” but what is this phrase for? No other need of mine was identified or even questioned. So, I replied “Could you wash my car for me?” Stunned silence. I then had to explain that I was joking but that the joke had a point. Why were they asking this question? They explained that they had been told to…….. I refrained from giving some free coaching and suggested they take the matter up with their Manager because this phrase on its own is meaningless and doesn’t reflect well on their company. I’m tempted to get a quote from them now and see if there is anything else they can help me with!