CSI... Customer Service Incompetency (strong as ever)
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Thinking…. there is no “APP” for that
* trigger warning, I use the word 'stupid'
As my mother would say on many occasions “you’re not stupid… you just do stupid things” I have come to realize the true merit of these words and how they apply to others (as well as) myself. Now what I find astonishing is where and when this said phrase becomes a reality. One would think it applies to forgetting to set your alarm, inadvertently walking into something for lack of attention, or speeding and getting a ticket (which I have mastered). It astonishes me when this lovely proverb becomes a reality during the process of providing customer service and/or running a business. My last post to this blog was about a past student that was experiencing a catastrophic level of service from a claim with their insurance company. Which, by the way, is still a disaster and not rectified in the least. Now to be clear, I am not here to bad mouth, or bash insurance, as I am aware of its necessity, without it the world would cease to exist as we know it. The service of insurance has a captive consumer base, in which each company must strive in various ways to claim its market share. The most significant method is the implementation of profound claims of customer service. From my last post, you may conclude that the situation was an anomaly, fair enough, as I too would like to share that sentiment as well (although it is getting far more difficult to do so), you would be amazed at the conversation that I was privy to yesterday that presented the same scenario all over again with a twist, the shop was as guilty as the adjuster.
You’re not stupid… You just do stupid things.
This is where thinking should start to become prevalent. The individual I was chatting with sustained damage to their vehicle from a minor fender bender recently. So in the process, they were told they needed to take the vehicle to a DRP for repairs. It so happens that this person is affiliated with the industry and has multiple relations with collision repair service providers, so with this knowledge and confidence, the vehicle was taken to a facility for repairs with the internal confidence that my friend chose the best location to receive a positive experience. Now, this client could have chosen any of the many shops they have relations with, in my view, the ‘chosen one’ should have realized this and felt graced with the honour of being the facility of choice. As you have guessed; they dropped the watermelon from the 14th story balcony, with no chance of salvage. First, the estimate was written up to exceed the total loss limit by $100.00. This is where the client should get a phone call to discuss options. This did not happen. What are the options you ask? “hello client, you have some options here, let me explain the process and the outcomes for you to make an educated decision. My first question to you is do you want your vehicle back? If yes, then…” 1). We can research some ACV (Actual Cash Value) for vehicles in the same state and condition as yours, as it is in exceptional condition and likely holds an ACV higher than the provided amount from the algorithm, in turn giving us a larger repair window. 2). We can look for used or aftermarket parts to complete the repairs at a lower cost (which we should have done automatically but were too lazy to do so). And 3). We could agree on eliminating some of the processes such as blending if you agree to it so we can keep the costs down. Pretty straight forward really, the shop would be doing repairs, the client would be happy, and the claim would be settled simply with no issues, how euphoric a system. Instead what transpired was a series of convoluted miscommunications, and plain ignorance leading to stupid, yes I said stupid, decisions leading to a client feeling broken about the industry they represent.
The claim went through the thoughtless system based on algorithms that lack compassion, and empathy, a system that cannot think for itself, there is no “APP” that can. So, the vehicle was deemed a total loss, then towed from the shop with the plates and personal belongings still inside. The best part (well in this saga there are numerous best parts, some I will refrain from sharing due to confidentiality) is; all of this was done without once contacting or discussing anything with the client. The client stops by the shop to see how thins are only to ask… “where is my vehicle?” The second best part… the client is told “insurance took it, salvage” where? the client asks “don’t know” they are told. The client ends up spending a day tracking down the vehicle themselves only to be told they cannot access it because it is salvage, and they don’t have permission. Needless to say, by the time the client gets access, the personal items have been pillaged through. Remember, this was a shop chosen under the pretense that the client would be taken care of fairly, based on a standing relation. As it stands, they were left with a vehicle that has a salvage title (confirmed with a letter from the ministry) that was put on it without consent, no different than my previous blog. As I stated, the client was left feeling broken due to no fault of their own, can’t say I blame them, it disgusts me that these scenarios happen.
I am certain that these two incidents are no longer isolated as they are a product of false claims and lip service. There is a lot more to this saga, however, I just wanted to address the client service or lack thereof. No client or customer should ever have to endure this type of experience at the hands of businesses that provide a service that the average individual is held hostage by. If I went to a doctor and this is how I ended up being handled I too would be broken, after all, I can't DIY my own medical insurance and surgery; and the average consumer cannot DIY their own auto insurance and collision repair. Ergo, this is where customer service should be at its peak. In my opinion, (it is my opinion and you are entitled to it) I believe that with the slow down from the Covid economy and the profit gain from lack of claims, both parties need to invest some time in training with someone that could help get you on track. These scenarios are all too common and are something that can be addressed with some insightful compassion and empathy, they need thinking, human thought process, outside of the box, let's get it together people.… again, there is no “APP” for that.