Fighting the war over bad customer service

If there is one thing that really frosts my cookies it is crappy customer service. Whatever happened to the days of ‘the customer is always right’ and ‘going that extra mile’? I was listening to Under the Influence by Terry O’Reilly the other day and he was talking about customer service and companies that go above and beyond the call of duty.

And he gave Canada a C minus overall for customer service.

C minus? That shouldn’t be possible. We are a country that is universally known for being polite and kind and wearing excellent toques. We should be acing this customer service thing, not getting a barely passing grade.

Which is why I’ve taken it upon myself to improve customer service in our country. I only go to establishments that give me good customer service. Is one coffee place friendlier than another? Then I’m going there…even if I like the coffee at the other place better. Did that sales person remember my name? I’m going back.

I’ve decided to take the same track with my car insurance. In Ontario, we’re lucky in that we have the option to shop around for auto insurance…go privatized or government run.

Wait…don’t leave me!

I know there are many people hear the word "insurance" and it makes them squirm and run. It’s something we need, but how, why, who should I choose? What is the difference between private and government run? Will they both be there if I have an accident or my car gets stolen? What do I do?

Insurance talk can be a bit dry and scary, but luckily the Insurance Bureau of Canada has some handy dandy tips that are informative and easy to understand about buying insurance…and about the difference between privatized and government run provincial auto insurance. They even have a cute little insurance bunny to keep you engaged.


I took a tour around the site (that bunny is really cute) and learned that ALL insurers provide car insurance within a strict framework of provincial laws and that they are supervised by a number of government agencies, including rate review boards and both federal and provincial regulators. Car insurers deliver a product that is defined by these laws and regulations. So when you choose a privatized auto insurer, you get all the coverage that you need, plus the added benefits that privatized auto insurance can provide. Like better prices and more money going into your local economy through jobs, investments and taxes.


So while I head out on my customer service crusade, I can go with my gut when choosing my auto insurance and go with the people who give me the best service. And because one of the benefits of privatized insurance is competition, I can go with the company that gives me the best rates or the company that makes me feel most valued as a customer. Ideally, that company does both. And the chances are good that it will be the private auto insurance provider on the corner.

There are some mysteries in life that are fascinating, like outer space. We will always ask questions and never really understand. That is part of the magic and the beauty. Insurance should not be like this.

Get in the know.

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