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Small Business Concerns Are Real and Painful

Bear with me while I tell a story.

I have had my homeowner’s, auto and property insurance with the same agency for well over 15 years, but recently switched due to poor service.

The agency is owned by a husband and wife – and when they started the agency, they evangelized customer service and personal contact. Now, some 15+ years later, they are ignoring the obvious – serving the customer.

I had every good intention of keeping my business with the agency. When it came time to take out a new property insurance policy, I contacted the agency by phone and e-mail asking for a quote. Both forms of contact were ignored, so I went to another agency for my needs. This quickly followed with quotes from the new agency for auto and homeowner’s insurance – and it turns out I’m now saving well over $2,000 a year with my combined savings. I would say that’s pretty good.

I asked the agency many times for lower rates, only to be told that my rates cannot be any lower. I feel like I gave the agency every chance to make amends, but ended up switching anyway.

Now – as to the point of this story. I thought I would find delight in canceling my policies with the agency. I wanted to be sure they knew exactly why I switched and wanted to rub it in their faces.

What I got, instead, was a sob story from the wife/owner about the woes of small business. Being somewhat altruistic, I began to really empathize with her about her problems.

Turns out my property insurance quote request was received, but the person handling it left the agency and the quote sat unattended to – unbeknownst to the owner. Regarding the auto and homeowner’s policy, all she could say was that they thought they had investigated all possibilities for me.  In truth, she really had not realized any requests were made at all.

I told her that I admired and endorsed she and her husband when they were small, but now that they’ve grown, they neglected the obvious, again, customer service. Her response? We are STILL small!

This leads me to try to understand the problems of the small business owner, where talent, ego and planning constantly get in the way of serving the customer. I can’t solve all of the world’s problems with this blog entry, but hopefully someone reading this – who has a small business – can try to get back to basics and pay attention to the obvious.

By now, you know what that is.

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