Volunteering Abroad? Measure a company by their service.

First, I apologize about the delay in posting my blog today. It is my goal to post between 9a-10a each morning for all ten of you reading. I’ve read repeatedly that consistency is critical in all social media platforms and I’d hate to throw off your entire day. I know I was supposed to write about Planes, Trains, and Automobiles today but who even knows what that means. Here’s a topic: the demise of customer service in America. Begin.

In January, like the responsible owner of a small business, I began looking into liability coverage for my nonprofit. I spoke with Lorie at Willis Insurance in Colorado and she told me that for Edge of Seven to have adequate coverage, it would cost in the neighborhood of $2,500. I submitted my application and was told that the quoting process would take 60 days max. She knew that I was organizing a project this summer to build a school in Nepal and assured me that we had more than enough time. This was on February 15th 2010.

Fast forward to March. I receive an email from Lorie that she is leaving the company and turning my file over to Kathy. By the time I responded to the email, her out of office said that she would be gone indefinitely. Seamless transition, Willis of Colorado. Kathy barely introduced herself by email but said that underwriters were working on my policy and she would be in touch if they had questions.

April begins. Flowers bloom. And yet, no word from Willis of Colorado. Last week, I had to leave two voicemails and send three emails before I received a response. In fact, in all of the emails and voicemails, I asked Kathy to call me. When you are approaching a deadline, it’s nice to hear a voice. So, naturally, she sent me an email. She told me my quote would be ready on Monday. Monday came and went. I left a voicemail and sent an email. Tuesday came and went. I left a voicemail and sent an email. Yesterday just about came and went but I decided that single voicemails and emails must not seem urgent. I called every hour. Finally, I got Kathy on the phone. We spoke for approximately 25 seconds before she rushed me off of the phone telling me she was hitting “send” on the quote. Keep in mind, I was told the quote would be around $2,500. Wait for it.

$30,113. U.S. Dollars. Oh, plus 15% commission. Why not?! It’s a party. I literally could not speak for twenty minutes. I just kept rereading the quote thinking the real number was buried under all the insurance jargon which has yet to be explained to me. Nope. $30K. Hilarious.

Today is a new day. I have spoken to two wonderful men who have assured me that Willis of Colorado is insane. They have listened to my needs and assured me that they will do whatever it takes to make sure I get a quote that is fair. And, on the tightest timeline possible, they have promised me that I will have a quote in no longer than a week.

Kathy [Z] from Willis of Colorado has not called me yet today. I guess the voicemail where I was on the verge of tears just didn’t move her. And her voicemail mentioned that she was in the office today but taking off at 2:45p. But who can blame her? It’s Thirsty Thursday.

The moral of this story: customer service is important people. It’s CRITICAL. And if something goes right, you tell one or two people. But if you completely neglect your customers [Willis of Colorado], you never know who will find out.

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