Day 1 back at home after a wonderful trip walking the coast and hills of Dorset. Naturally, one of the first jobs is to go through the mail, both snail- and e-, that has accumulated during one’s absence. One missive in the snail-mail collection was my invitation, from none other than the AA, to renew my Mazda MX5 insurance. Their best offer, a different supplier from the current policy, was £198.43 with a bunch called Acromas of whom I’ve never heard. The price didn’t look bad but I thought I’d have a quick look on-line.
In order to support Aleksandr, I went into www.comparethemarket.com. Crunch, crunch, crunch went the wheels and out popped a few numbers. Let’s look at the scores in the doors. Pop! Oh, look, there’s a quote from the AA for £178.xx. Pop! Oh look, there’s a quote from Saga (yes, I know the jokes) for £155.xx.
I was perusing these numbers thinking that perhaps the AA was now not looking quite so good after all when the phone rang.
“Hello”, I said in my best macho bass, telephone-manner voice.
“Am I speaking to Mrs. Curd”, said the complete wombat stranger.
“Do I sound like a Mrs?”, I enquired.
He fed me some bullshit about their line being bad (sounded fine at my end) and proceeded to tell me he was from the AA and was I happy with my recent quote through www.comparethemarket.com? Strewth, that was quick off the mark!
“I’m very glad you called”, I said unusually and looking forward to some fun. “I’m holding your renewal quote in my hand telling me that the best price you can do is £198 but I am looking at an on-line quote from your good selves for £178. Please explain.”
“I can only deal with new customers, not existing customers. I’ll have to put you through to some other poor schmuck customer services.”
I went through the same lines again with customer services. Pause. “I can do it for £188 – that’s pretty close, isn’t it?”
“If £10 more is close, yes. It isn’t, however, close to my on-line Saga quote of £155. Oh, and incidentally, my current policy through you is actually a Saga policy which you claim you’ve had to abandon to get me a renewal quote a hair below £200. I’m confused. I’m getting used to having to jump ship in order to get a decent deal. What ever happened to rewarding customer loyalty, especially those that have not made a claim?”
“They do it to attract new customers”, he said I distilled.
“What about trying to keep existing customers?”, I enquired, “you seem to work hard to capture them so how about trying to hold onto them? I had exactly the same trouble recently with your Breakdown/Relay policy – renewal price: £108, new member price: £69. I cancelled. You lost a customer.”
Tap, tap, tap … “I could do that for £58 today”, he informed me, sheepishly.
Ye Gods! I give up!!