Customer expectations for great service every time they interact with a company are increasing, mainly due to increased competition that's pushing organizations to outdo themselves in providing a fantastic customer experience.
At a time when most companies are trying their best to differentiate themselves based on exceptional service, surprising customers is what makes organizations stick out from among their competitors.
I recently had such an experience with State Farm. When our car got flooded and rendered inoperable during Hurricane Sandy, my husband and I started the process of making an insurance claim. Since this was a first for both of us, we were unsure of what we needed to do or what to expect and were regularly contacting State Farm to explain what we needed to do.
The extreme number of cars impacted by the storm--up to 250,000 vehicles are believed to have been destroyed--further compounded matters. Suddenly it became next to impossible to find a rental car. When we started seeing motorists wait for hours to get gas, we decided that although our policy entitled us to a rental car, it would not be too inconvenient to get one.
Since it was our decision not to avail ourselves of the option to get a rental car, we didn't expect anything from State Farm. So when I received a call from one of the company's agents around 10 days after the storm asking me why we didn't get a rental, I assumed that they were just gathering information.
But I was pleasantly surprised when the agent informed me that they would be sending us a check for the amount the insurance would have covered towards a rental. "You paid for the coverage," the agent said.
This is an example of an organization going out of its way to wow customers with an unexpected experience, even at a time when it was inundated with claims. Even though we had paid for coverage, we never expected State Farm to offer us money after we took a conscious decision not to rent a car.
The result is that even while our claim was still being processed, we already had a positive experience during our first interaction with State Farm. It means that we will retain our other policies and are very likely to insure the replacement vehicle with the same company. This is a victory for an insurance company that operates in a competitive environment.