I came across an interesting thread on an Internet discussion board called simply ‘The Rant Forum', in which people poured their hearts out about the things that really annoy them.
Shortly after that, I attended a seminar where a very motivational speaker encouraged the delegates to look outside their own industries for inspiration on ways to innovate. He gave the example of a British airline taking inspiration from Disney: the airline was having trouble with its queuing systems so looked to a company that specialises in herding thousands through its gates every year.
So, here are the four ‘things' that annoy me the most and my suggestions on which lessons we could bring into the protection market:
1) People who think adding a jet engine-sized exhaust pipe onto their clapped-out early 90s Ford somehow turns it into something to be admired and drooled over.
In the protection industry innovation often means adding sometimes pointless little extras simply to gain a perceived advantage over competitors. We have all added rare critical illness (CI) definitions to our products over the years but do these really add any customer value?
2) People ‘forgetting' to remove their coats and display their liquid luggage at airport scanners - despite the number of signs they walk past - who are then forced to do so the moment they reach the scanner.
We spend our day jobs talking about policy conditions, exclusions, illness definitions and what our products do, but the general public has very little understanding of the finer mechanics of protection products. Literature must be totally clear about what is and isn't covered but, even then, there will always be those who have not understood or even read what we tell them. How can we overcome this communication gap?
3) Pre-recorded station announcements
There is nothing more de-humanising than hearing a pre-recorded announcement or talking to an automatic phone answering service. The majority of people want to deal with real people who are individuals and can meet their needs rather than a robot that sticks to its script. Protection may need even more of the personal touch given we may be dealing with illness or death.
4) Christmas getting earlier every year. I saw the first decorations in a department store at the beginning of September!
We have our department Christmas night on 12 November. Why? Because we left it too late to book and all the best venues had already been filled. Poor planning not only interferes with your social plans, it can also cost you money as well. Plan ahead and you can get cheaper holidays. Take out life cover today rather than next year and you can save on your premium rates.
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From 1 March