Friday, 24 July 2009

Aviva - Reputation Management

STOP PRESS: Please read the Aviva Case Study on Reputation Management for the full analysis post complaint.

Firstly, I'd like this blog to remain on topic and be a commentary on brand consumer engagement; analysing the way online businesses offer and manage all of their consumer communications channels with their customers. Therefore, an update on the previous post concerning the letter of complaint to Aviva and Andrew Moss is not out of place.

One day, I will put together a description outlining how this this letter gained a "reasonable amount" of interest and what the statistics were associated with web stats, twitter activity, other social media buzz and the impact upon the Aviva brand search rankings. I hope from this information brands and consumers alike will be able to take some key points to enable them to better engage. I'm not saying my approach is "best practice" but it did receive attention and a significant response.

Anyway, from a number of posts and emails I have received, Aviva added a link to the letter on an internal forum, an indication that the contents of the experiences outlined were being taken seriously. I also received apologies from Aviva employees who just wished to express their feelings, which was nice; I also received some empathetic comments from fellow well as some "who do you think you are" type comments (not from Aviva I hasten to add). These were expected.

I also received a letter from Andrew Moss apologising saying he had "instructed" (That's quite autocratic Andrew!) Mr Igal Mayer to look into this. I was pleasantly surprised to receive such a response in the form of a letter. Later in the day (Thursday 23rd July) John Kitson, Sales & Marketing Director called my home, he had the pleasure of speaking to my eldest daughter who is aged 10 and then my wife. I was out in a meeting. However, we did speak with each other this morning for about 15 mins or so.

John Kitson
John had taken the time to listen to the recordings of my calls (something I wasn't aware was possible) and he shared the frustrations of the voice un-recognition system and the repetition of questions. Again, very pleasing, but no resolution to my own issues as yet. John said he would ask someone from the customer experience team to call me and ensure I knew where I was with my policies.

This happened about an hour or so afterwards. I ensured the policy I wanted to cancel was cancelled and kept the other car policy, not yet due for renewal, running. Letters confirming these will be in the post. So all fine and dandy for me...but, I know there are still many people who are unhappy, as well as many others who are happy with Aviva. The point of my letter was threefold:-
  1. To outline the poor systems Aviva customers have to face with the aim of helping other consumers with their own complaints - hence the use of the social web to increase the noise of the complaint.
  2. To make Aviva aware. If no one tells them how important this stuff is they won't get to know about it. From what I understand so far, there is a high degree of intent to review these customer service systems and improve them.
  3. The third, and for me the biggest driving factor for raising awareness; you can't get away with a multi-million advertising campaign with "A" list celebrities (and Ringo...What is his real name?) saying "Remember me" , "Don't treat me like an idiot", "Recognise me" etc. portraying an individualistic caring approach, when the actual reality of the customer service is nothing like that.
If this has helped reduce, ideally eliminate, the gap between brand portrayal and actual service, then I think all the bloody effort put into this may have been worth it...even if I have slightly tarnished my own identity, but I can live with that.
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