My insurance company needs some help with the way they relate to their customers. I have been with the same insurance company for over four years now, and during that time I have made every single payment on time. Most months I pay well before the due date, and quite often pay more than the minimum balance due for my policy. In short I have been a pretty good customer.
This past month though was an exception to my pristine record. Life was just a little crazy and the bill got put in a pile with some other papers, and I was late in making my payment by a few days (that's days, not weeks). The day after I paid my bill, I received this letter from my insurance company that must have crossed paths with my payment in the mail. They wrote…
NOTICE OF CANCELLATION: NON-PAYMENT OF PREMIUM. Cancellation Date 10/11/09 ***Cancellation Notice*** Due to your failure to remit the premium due, we hereby cancel the above mentioned policy, effective on the cancellation date stated above, at 12:01 AM….A late payment fee has been included.
Now I know that it probably gets old dealing with people who don't pay their bills, but I think my insurance company could use some help in drafting a letter to their customers who miss paying a single bill by a few days, every 4 or 5 years. Maybe their letter could go something like this….
Dear valued customer,
We just wanted to check in and be sure everything is alright as we didn't get your insurance payment for this last month, and since you have been with us for so long we know that this is out of the ordinary. We realize that a million things could have happened. Perhaps our bill, or your payment, got lost in the mail (it happens from time to time). Or, maybe you have been our of town or just haven't had the time to drop your payment in the mail. Whatever the reason we just wanted to be sure you were aware we hadn't received your payment yet, and if you haven't already we simply ask if you could get it to us as soon as possible.
Unfortunately we do have some pencil pushers in our office that give us rigid deadlines we have to enforce, so we really need to have your payment by October 11th. If we don't get it by then we have to close your account, which is something we don't want to do since you have been such a valuable customer for so long. If there is anything we can do to help you in order to be sure this doesn't happen just let us know what it is.
_________ __________ Insurance Company
Now that may not be the perfect letter, but opening with "Dear Valued Customer" and closing with "Sincerely" beats opening with "NOTICE OF CANCELLATION" and closing with "A late fee has been included" anytime. To be quite honest, I am so annoyed by their letter that I am considering going through the hassle of changing insurance companies. Which is a shame as they would have probably had me as a customer for another 4 or 5 years if they would have approached me being late this one time just a little differently.
The way you relate to people is important. Whether you are talking about insurance companies, churches or even friends and family.