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    This site contains various posts, links, ideas and articles by Kevin Kent.

Giving with one hand but taking with the other

I have been a happy customer of AA Ireland for nearly three years – they have sorted me out more than once over that time. Usually each year my renewal is an automatic process and I just let the cover renew.

Nearly a month ago I got a nice letter from AA Ireland saying that since I had been a customer for nearly three years, they were going to extend my cover to include my wife for the final 3 months of my current cover free of charge. I thought this was a very nice gesture. It was a piece of savvy marketing too. I assumed they were doing it in the hope my wife would sign up for cover after three months. I mentioned it to a few people, full of praise for good database management and customer service from AA Ireland.

Then last week I received a second letter from AA Ireland. It was my renewal letter for the next 12 months (my current cover doesn’t expire until July) so they were about 4 weeks early with this letter, it doesn’t usually arrive until mid-June. The letter arrived one week after my wife’s membership card arrived. I left it to the side fully planning to let the cover automatically renew however over the weekend I noticed a sharp increase in the cost of my cover.

The reason for the increase was that AA Ireland had automatically added my wife to my cover. They never asked me or my wife is she would like cover they just added her and the cost to my cover. What started out as a savvy piece of marketing turned into an underhand mechanic. My wife may have opted for cover as her car is nearly four years old and may start giving her problems but to just add her to the cover and invoice me for the cost is extremely bad customer service. A simple call from a Customer Service Rep asking if she was enjoying the benefits of cover and would she liked to be added would probably have resulted in AA Ireland getting an extra sale however they will now lose one prospective customer and one loyal customer when I don’t renew my cover. I will instead sign up with a competitor come July.

Short term sales recruitment and focus leads to poor long term customer retention. We all need sales mechanics to increase participation but failing to see it through and opting for the quick win can ultimately damage your overall numbers.

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