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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Farmer's Insurance - Good Customer Service

When I on the receiving end of bad customer service, I make it a point to bash the company/store either in private or to my wife or on my Blog :). For a change, I am blogging about some excellent customer service that I received recently from my car/home insurance agent/company - Farmer's Insurance.

The incident happened just before we left for India. Susmita's Audi was not starting up because the battery had completely died down. So, we called up Farmer's Roadside Assistance program to send in a mehcanic who could jump-start the car. While talking to the customer service agent, we received a rude shock when he said that the Audi did not have the Towing coverage as part of the insurance. The towing coverage was only there for my Mazda. I was very confident that it should have been there but then he could do only what was available on the computer screen in front of him.

Then it suddenly struck me that it was actually a folly of mine :). I rememberd that when I had put the Audi into the Farmer's insurance's coverage, I had told my agent (Joan Applebome) to have the similar coverage WITHOUT the towing because we had AAA membership at that time and so the towing would be covered by that. However, when our AAA membership expired, we did not renew it because we didn't feel the need to do so. But we forgot to put the towing coverage onto our Farmer's Insurance.

In any case, I decided to try my luck with my Farmer's agent. I explained to her the situation - she was very polite and she told me to pay the money to the towing company right now and then file for reimbursement. I did exactly that and then i forgot about it when I went for my vacation. After all, it was my fault (though I admit I never accepted that :)) and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Imagine my surprise when I came back from India. There was a mail from Farmer's agent saying that she had put in the towing coverage into the Audi's insurance at no extra cost. Then a few days later, Farmer's Insurance sent me a check for the $65 that I had filed for reimbursement. I was really thrilled and very impressed with their service.

Small things such as these are what hook on customers to some companies for life and make them loyal customers. I am sure that down the road there will some other insurance company which will offer me a better deal. But do you think I shall switch? - NO WAY :). That, my friend, as my marketing professors would explain, is the "LIFETIME VALUE" of a customer.

Cheers,
Thyaga

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