Customer loyalty is something all businesses strive for.
So why the hell do some brands seem to want to stick a knife in their most loyal consumers? And then twist it?!
Insurance firms seem to be one of the biggest culprits.
Recent research has shown that the loyal insurance customers who stick with the same provider can find themselves paying an extra £75 each year!
Talk about an unpleasant, emotive end user experience.
It’s ludicrous. That’s all I can say to that.
(Well, I could say a lot more, but don’t want to pepper this post with a bunch of expletives!)
Consumer group Which? made the discovery.
Apparently, customers that have combined buildings and contents insurance and stick with the same brand, pay an average of £270 annually.
But guess what?!
Yes, that’s right. A new customer can come along and pick up the same policy package for just £195.
Putting the ASS in Association
According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the market isn’t working as well as it should.
You don’t say?!
And it gets worse.
Over time, the penalty for loyalty gets higher.
After around 20 years with the same brand, a longstanding customer may well be paying almost double the amount of a newbie.
Yep, around £396 per year, compared with that new customer £195 I mentioned.
Based on the results from the 7,000 people surveyed, insurers are obviously cashing in on the fact that consumers don’t want the hassle of shopping around.
But this is just daylight robbery.
Out with the old…
Some of the savvier end users out there decide to cancel their existing policy.
Then re-purchase from the same firm so they can take advantage of the new customer discount.
A great way of beating price hikes.
Surprisingly, a lot of insurers out there actually allow consumers to do this.
They are obviously well aware that they are ripping people off.
And I guess it is better to suck it up then be hit with a barrage of customer complaints from those that have sussed out their dirty tricks.
But why should insurance firms be allowed to put loyal customers at risk of being exploited by these shady practices?
Talk about taking your customers for granted.
Pulling their finger out…
We all know it is easier to retain a current customer than it is to recruit a new one. Insurers clearly don’t stand by this.
By making it a top priority to attract new business, they are side-lining their bread and butter: the consumers that have stuck with them for years.
It is possibly too little too late, but the ABI are reviewing the way longstanding policy holders are treated.
A spokesperson for the association commented that things are not quite how they should be.
So, in the hope of giving everyone the opportunity to get the best deal in such a highly competitive market, they have launched an industry initiative.
The aim of it is to help customers who don’t have the time (or inclination) to shop around.
Apparently, they are going to review their policies to ensure that every customer who has been on the books for five years or more is not being shafted.
(Ok, they didn’t put it quite like that, but you know that’s what they mean.)
It still doesn’t do anything to help those that have remained loyal for one to five years but…. Baby steps.
Lessons in loyalty
Insurers aren’t the only ones to take advantage.
I have seen it happen with Internet Service Providers, TV, phone and utility companies.
And they all need a jolly good slap.
But at least it is a lesson for the rest of us.
Consumers want an emotive end user experience.
They want to be rewarded for their loyalty, not right royally ripped off.
So, next time Mr Bloggs places a second (or third, or forth) order with your company, make sure you think twice.
None of this insurance type nonsense….
‘Oh, he has come back again. He must love our brand so much. Let’s stick a couple more noughts on the bill.’
No. That won’t do at all.
You are lining yourself up to be shot down.
Shoddy business practices always come to light in the end.
So, instead, why not try to think: ‘what can I do to make this better?’
‘What do my customers need and want? How can I make our level of service more appealing that they continue to come back time and again? And tell their friends?’
Every market out there is competitive in this day and age.
You have to offer that competitive advantage.
And you can do that by understanding your consumers, as well as having insight into how they view your brand.
Want guidance in getting the lowdown on your market? Contact us and let our end-user experience monitoring show you the light.
Let us help you to help your customers.
Oh, and try to banish the ‘brand new customers only’ line from your head.
I am beginning to think TV comic Mark Benton should have done adverts for the insurance world, as opposed to Nationwide!