Sat at my desk yesterday afternoon and my mobile phone rang – displaying 0845 603 4494. I answered the phone to be told that the caller was from Esure Insurance and they were calling to let me know about some changes to my insurance policy. I asked them if the call was a sales call or if they were calling me to tell me that the existing cover on my car insurance was actually changing. The caller refused to answer the question. Instead he told me that he had information about some additional benefits available on my car insurance policy. I took this to mean that it was a sales call and politely (for me) replied that I didn’t have time right now but they could call me back next week if they wanted to.
The caller hung up.
Sat at my desk this afternoon (I do seem to spend a lot of time sat at my desk these days) and my mobile rang again with the the same caller id displayed. I answered the call and was told again by an excited Scottish voice that he was from Esure and that he was calling to let me know about some changes about my insurance policy. I told him that they had called me yesterday and that I had asked them to call me next week. He then proceeded to tell me that they had tried to call me the previous day but that they had not got hold of me. I decided to let him know that that was not the case but he seemed a lot more interested in wanting to tell me about some changes to my insurance policy…
I asked him if the call was a sales call. He told me the call was to let me know about some changes to my insurance policy. I asked him if the existing insurance cover was changing. He told me that there some additional benefits that may help me in the event of a claim. I once again asked him if this was a sales call. He refused to answer the question. I stopped him from telling me more about the additional benefits that I could have and asked him “Yes/No? Is this a sales call?”.
He replied “This is not a sales call”
Now you may wonder why I am so fascinated with the purpose of the call. I guess I could say that I simply wanted to know if I needed to listen to him as the call was important information relating to my car insurance or, if the call was simply a sales call, then I could explain that I was busy and that they should call back another time. But the truth is actually that I detest companies lying about sales calls. If they are calling me to try to sell me extra products or services, then admit it. Don’t have a script that specifically says “Do not admit that it is a sales call”, which in the case of insurance companies is effectively using fear to sell – as they are banking on the customer accepting that the call relates to their existing policy rather than an attempt to upsell.
Once it became clear that this was exactly what Esure’s excited telesales person was up to, I asked to speak to a supervisor or manager about cancelling my policy.
After a pause, the caller asked me why. So I explained that I did not want to insure my car with a company that used underhanded sales techniques, that lied to its customers and that refused to answer a simple question with an honest answer.
After another pause, I was told that a supervisor was not available to speak to me but that they could arrange a call back later. Its been two hours so far. Anyone fancy a sweep-stake on how many days until they call… or indeed that they never ever do?
Either way, I have great news for all the other insurance companies who will be listed as a possible provider for my car insurance by Go Compare; Esure are no longer in the frame.
Update: A Manager phoned back. Same day. They said sorry! They acknowledged that their telesales employee acted incorrectly in refusing to acknowledge that the call was a sales call. They asked me what would make me happy. Esure: nearly forgiven.