ASB Virtual Branch on Facebook

by Diane on 26/11/2010

I do love talking about positive customer experience, have you noticed? And I just had a great experience, so I feel the urge to share it. Here it comes:

A few days ago we got our renewal notice for our contents insurance. With the invoice for 2011 in our hands, we realised in panic: “oh-gosh-we’re-soooooo-under-insured”. So we created a list of all items we own, took photos of everything in our house, stored the pictures in the cloud for obvious reasons, and eventually I popped into my preferred ASB branch to deal with the upgrade. I was told to call an 0800-number to speak with an insurance specialist and did so when I came home from working in town today. Without going into any detail here, the phone call was less than useless and I was quite frustrated when the call was over.

ASB Virtual Branch on Facebook

Then I remembered the ASB Virtual Branch on Facebook. I went to the page and clicked through to the customer service people available for chat. There’s someone available seven days a week, 8am – 9pm. When I went online, there were two young ladies around for a chat – I chose the one in the top row (see image below). Her name is Elysa, and within a couple of minutes she became my personal customer service heroine of the day. After a few lines of chat it became clear that she wouldn’t be able to help with insurance issues via the Facebook application, so she called me back. Since our insurance is already queued for renewal, she wasn’t able to upgrade it or give me an exact quote, but she did everything possible to help me with what I needed. She was in no position to increase my insurance on a Friday night, but she made a note in our file that I had tried to increase cover, in case anything happened to our house in the next two days. When I hang up, I felt like being in good hands, and that she’ll sort it all out on Monday.

ASB Virtual Branch representatives available for chat

But she didn’t rest. She hunted down a representative of the insurance company ASB are working with, and when she called me again she was able to confirm that our insurance cover had been increased and that we’ll receive a confirmation letter and new invoice next week.

She didn’t have to do any of this. She could have confirmed what the guy on the phone hotline had told me before, because it was the truth. She could have said she can’t do anything for me on a Friday night. She didn’t have to add a note to my file, after all being under-insured legally means being under-insured, and if I try to change this on a Friday night, you would be right say “bad luck”. And she didn’t have to try to get hold of someone at the insurance company, especially not after we had agreed on leaving it until monday morning. But she did.

Sure, this is in no way a sign that the virtual branch on Facebook works as intended. I could have gotten lucky with someone from the call centre who might have gone the extra mile, too. But on Facebook I was able to chose who I wanted to interact with. To be fair, all the people on the virtual branch look friendly, helpful and professional. But still, I had a choice. And ASB offered me interaction via a medium that I’m familiar with. After establishing the initial contact, talking on the phone didn’t feel as weird as it often does when you talk to some random stranger, who may or may not even be based in some low-wage country far away from New Zealand.

From now on I will certainly prefer the Facebook virtual branch for all matters I would like to discuss with someone at ASB. Even if they can’t help immediately, they seem to have picked great people to represent the bank in the online world, so I’m sure that every problem will be solved in the end.

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