Flo Has Let Me Down

While I find the Progressive TV commercials annoying, I can see why they are effective. They’ve turned Flo into an icon similar to Mr. Whipple, who was famous for squeezing the Charmin (toilet paper). The Flo character is an overzealous representative for the company who is effusive about bundling your home and auto insurance. Whether you like or dislike the character, she must be helping Progressive sell insurance — she’s done over 100 commercials for the brand since first appearing in 2008! While Flo is not necessarily my type, she has given me the impression that Progressive is committed to caring for its customers and providing personalized service.

Advertising Icons

Late last year I switched auto insurance from Geico to Progressive. I did it because I was miffed at the lizard for jacking up the prices. I had no problems with their service; however, they wanted to raise my premium by $200 per month. I’ve been with Flo for a few months, and I already have a not-so-happy story to share. What happened the other day is not a deal breaker; however, it has made me think twice about my relationship with Flo. I’ll share the story, realizing it may be an anomaly.

The Story

On December 29th, I was on the Dallas North Tollway (southbound) when I spotted an object in the middle of my lane. It was rush hour, and there were cars on either side of me. I had no room to swerve around the object. My only choice was to run over it. Little did I know I was doomed. I thought my SUV could clear the object. Unfortunately, it was bigger and less malleable than I thought. I winced as I drove over it then stunned by the horrific sound it made. The object was hard and heavy. I looked down at the dash. It was obvious the engine had shut down. Luckily I was close to an exit and was able to coast down the off ramp to a place that was relatively safe.

From Bad to Worse

I knew it was bad but I had no idea how bad. I got towed to a repair shop and was later informed that I’d need a new transmission. Fine. It took them two weeks to get a recycled transmission installed and the story gets better from here. I called to check on the car and they told me the transmission has been installed but they couldn’t get the engine to turn over. The next conversation with the mechanic blew my mind. He informed me that the engine locked up, it’s not fixable and will have to be replaced. He also let me know that he called Progressive and an adjuster will be out tomorrow.

I hung up the phone in a state of disbelief. My perfectly fine 2013 Hyundai Sante Fe now appeared to be DOA. I picked my jaw up off the desk, and immediately called Progressive to confirm an adjuster was scheduled. Tomorrow came and went – no adjuster. I went from hot to scalding. I immediately call the local guy in charge of dispatching adjusters. I want reassurance that someone will assess the car tomorrow. His response made me throw up in my mouth, “We are extremely busy sir so I can’t promise when I’ll have an adjuster out there. I was not a happy camper.

The Rigamarole*

The next day was Friday and I woke up in a less than stellar mood. I knew if I was unable to get an adjuster out to the shop by the early afternoon, I’d lose at least 2 days. I tried to call the claims agent and she was unavailable. Her voicemail instructed me to call her supervisor in her absence which I did and I got her voicemail. Her message said, “This blah blah blah. I’m unavailable until Monday. If you’d like to leave a message I will get back to you within 24 to 48 hours.” Seriously? All I wanted at this point was interaction with a human. In desperation I got on their “live” chat where Marcus informed me that I must speak with the claims agent. I try the claims agent again and she’s still unavailable. So I get back on the chat and he gives me another number to call. – This time it is to someone in a local office. I dial the number and a live human answers. She is friendly and accomodating and quickly informs me that an adjuster is scheduled to visit the shop at 1:00 PM. Because of her demeanor, I trusted her. Later in the day, my mechanic called to tell me the inspection was completed. The car was declared “TOTALED.”

Flo Gets a Second Chance, However…

It’s crazy to me that a successful insurance company like Progressive can’t get it right. This might’ve been a one-off situation, however, it seems like a systemic issue to me. They could have directed me to the local rep much sooner in the process. This would have saved me the time and frustration of making multiple calls.

The good news is this is not enough for me to break up with Flo. The bad news it has caused me to have a shred of doubt. Insurance companies can’t afford a hiccup while serving their customers because there’s always the lizard, the the good hands, the good neighbor the emu, Mayhem, the General, and so forth and so on.

A heartfelt thank you to those who read my stuff. As always, I look forward to your comments.

*Rigmarole means complicated, bothersome nonsense, so it might seem that, like gobbledygook, kerfuffle, to-do, and blabbityblab, the word’s origin is onomatopoeic or fanciful. But there is a story behind rigmarole that goes back to a 13th century list of names known as the Ragman Roll.

About Culturedude

President of The Jeff and Bryce Fan Club, head cheerleader for my wife, Susan, lucky devoted brother of Beth and Barbara, perennial pal of the Bunko Squad, passionate customer service advocate, forever loyal fan of the Yankees, Packers, Buckeyes and Wildcats. favorite pastimes: writing, public speaking, golf, cartooning, reading, playing and blogging!
This entry was posted in brand, brand loyalty, Business, Customer Service, insurance, media, perceptions, process and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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