Friday, March 28, 2008

When IT doesn't replace a human being

My insurance company, USAA, is the envy of my friends. The company has a great reputation for claims management and customer service. However, the company, like others is tightening their customer care by eliminating the 24 hour-7-day a week availability they once had.

Last night, I went to a Door64 in Austin on its famed 6th Street. I parked in a meter zone, not knowing that the street was zoned for valet service from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. When I left the party at 9:30 to find one of my clients at a nearby bar, I scanned the street to get my car. Sure enough, there was a covered meter and my car was missing.

When I called the police, I was told that I needed my VIN number. Right away, I called the tollfree number to get a bunch of prompts. When I tried to ask for a human being, I was told that the policy service office was close and that I should go to the web site.

Sure enough, a friend allowed me to log onto the web site, and it was hard at first to find the info needed. And, after getting that, I had to deal with the Austin Police to find the wherabouts of my car.

Until last night, I had always thought of USAA as a company that cares, but obviously someone higher up in the management chain thought that in the world of IT that it is easier to go to the web to find a VIN number. Here's hoping that the senior management rethinks the issue of having everyone go to policy service through telephone prompts, especially when a customer needs their help.

If the issue is cost, I for one would support the extra funding to have an "insurance concierge" that is there 24/7 for me. When I need USAA, I want them to respond professionally and not with a bunch of telcom and Internet options.

1 comment:

Ramiro said...

Matt, solid point.

Unfortunately, that practice is spreading out to credit cards, banks, cable systems.
They have varying amounts of efficiency.

Why doesn't USAA explain this process at the moment when one is shopping for insurance quotes?