RESOLVED! How Car Insurance Naming And Shaming Paid Off


Readers of my Name And Shame Game post a little while back may recall that I wasn’t best pleased with Real Insurance.

To be fair, I really wasn’t all that bothered by the guts of the issue because actual impact on me was minimal. It became more a principle thing: their process was broken, my customer experience was appalling, and they’d failed at every possible step. 

They had to be told—so I did. Quel surprise! 

You can see (a slightly modified version of) how I told them here.

Given the unrestrained shaming and naming in that post, it’s only right that I should give an update on what eventuated: an entirely unexpectedly positive experience.

So after following up for a third time about why I’d still received zero response from them within the more than reasonable timeframe I’d requested said responses, I clearly informed them that I was about to refer the matter to the external industry body, the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Here in Australia, the number of unresolved provider issues being referred externally has sky-rocketed in recent years, as customers have become less and less tolerant of rubbish service. Organisations typically pay chunky fees for issues that are legitimately (as opposed to spuriously) referred, so the merest hint of escalation from a customer has become a successful tactic for achieving resolution virtually everywhere.

But reaching one’s wits’ end to the point of needing to get an independent body involved, just to force an organisation to resolve a situation, is a nasty old business, whatever way you look at it and however they choose to sweeten the deal.

By the time a push from you comes to a shove from their industry ombudsman, you wanna hope the folks at the source realise it’s way beyond having let things go ‘too far’.

To their credit—or to mine, on several levels, as it turned out—a lovely lady from Real Insurance called me within (what felt like) moments of my threat of external referral being sent. To my very great surprise, her tone was sincere and her repeated apologies sounded quite genuine.

She went into a level of detail about my ‘feedback’ that clearly indicated she was very familiar with it. My breakdown of events had even been reviewed by multiple members of their ‘leadership’ team, she said, several of whom had expressed their gratitude to me for having provided such detailed feedback, as it allowed them to pinpoint exactly where their processes had fallen down.

Assuming this was an accurate retelling of how things panned out, I have no concerns about having provided too much detail—an accusation frequently laid at my door—because this time it quite literally paid off.

Not only was my feedback heard and apparently acted upon, I also received a full refund of the excess payment I’d been told multiple times not to make before eventually being threatened with legal action if it wasn’t made immediately.

Better still, I was also given an additional financial sweetener to thank me for my “loyalty and patience”.

Couldn’t ask for a better outcome than that, right?

…actually, yes I could. The best outcome in the world would be for none of these issues to be repeated when any other Real Insurance customer has to go through the same process. That’s the only way of knowing that Real Insurance really did use my feedback to address at least those multiple points of process failure, if not others, to improve all their customers’ experiences. 

That’s an outcome I really couldn’t ask better of.

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