October 28, 2013

A friendly voice

It was quite a shock when I opened the letter from Aegon to realize that my car insurance had almost run out. I was already 3 weeks late with payment! Aaargh! Just when I thought I was on top of things. However, seeing as the letter had been sent to my old address, (I left that house back in 2009), it wasn't so strange after all.
So, what did I do, (after making a quick internet payment)? I tried to change my address - online. It always seems like the most logical step is to go online and arrange whatever you need.  I soon realized that it's not logic but rather the human touch that overcomes the technology.

A rose for the kind Aegon rep
I finally spoke to!
"Sign up to MijnAegon" the website clearly invited me. So, I clicked this link and that one and finally got to a longish form where I could put in all my personal data (a little annoying since you'd think they would have my data if I just put in the Policy number?) However, I put the information in - and lo and behold - an error message. Grrrrr.... Now it's true that I did this the first time late at night, on my ipad, in bad light. My eyesight isn't quite as good as it used to be, so perhaps I made a mistake. I tried again. Nope, same error message.

This morning I tried again, in better light, wearing reading glasses, on my computer. Again same #@(& error message. So, I called the helpdesk. The first time a recording asked me to give my name, my address, my postcode, the reason I was calling. Yes, I had to do it twice... And when they finally transferred my call - the phone got disconnected.

Luckily this morning I had PLENTY of patience left, so I called again, spoke very clearly into the darn answering machine and this time, was actually transferred to a real human being.

Now you can imagine that even someone as angelically patient as myself might have been just a tad annoyed and frustrated by the time I talked to this person, and indeed I was mightily pissed off by this stage.

But a minor miracle occurred. I just happened to get the sweetest, most helpful and cheerful person on the line helping me. After one sentence of 'How can I help you?' and her listening to my grumpy complaint about the address being the wrong one for 3 years running - her simple, "Oh that IS annoying!" really grounded me and broke my anger right away. We chatted briefly about how windy it was - (she had biked to work that day!) - and she quickly helped me update my address.

Oh,  isn't it a joy to converse with a calm and pleasant customer service person? No amount of IT budget, new Customer Service technology etc. can compete with that.  Thank you, dear Aegon customer service rep! You made my day!


  1. I once had an actual conversation with a computer from UPS when I had to send in my old laptop for repair a few years back. It's probably in line with their company culture but it's the silliest thing really, having to talk to this mechanical voice which records my voice and generates a reply accordingly, a little frightening actually.
    A real human being on the phone in the mood you described makes for so much nicer conversations :)

    1. Indeed, real people are my prefered kind of people!