My wife wrote an article last week about how you can save money going local for balloons and flowers , but here’s another reason you might want to go local – superior service.
In working for my how to buy term life insurance  post yesterday, I emailed my insurance agent, Deborah from State Farm, to get some updated quotes on term life insurance. I’ve had the need to email her on several occasions and each time her responses were usually back in minutes. She knew me as Jim Wang, a recent new customer, and not as customer #XXXXXXX in a database somewhere.
It really underscored one thing I had missed when I was with Geico and Traveler’s, personalized service with a real person.
With Geico and Traveler’s, the process was very transactional.
- I talked to them about what coverages I wanted, then I bought it. Done.
- My car was totaled. I had no comprehensive coverage, I’m responsible. Done.
- I am switching insurance providers. They attempted to keep me, I said “no thanks.” Done.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with my relationship with Geico and Traveler’s. They were always responsive to me but I was just another number in their database. And I was fine being a number because my insurance was cheap and that’s what I needed.
When I reviewed my insurance policies  earlier this month, I found that I could get the same insurance coverage for less from State Farm. Since then, the only “big” thing I had to talk to Deborah at State Farm about was when my wife was rear ended a week ago. She advised us on what to do, since my wife was not at fault in any way, and even checked in a few days later just to see how we were doing.
It’s that “check-in”-type of relationship that makes me appreciate going local for something as transactional as insurance.
I still had the 24-hour service touted by every other insurance company (have a problem, call the same number; if it’s after business hours then the call gets routed to their national call systems) but I also had a person I could talk to each time. More importantly, I could just email her if I had a quick question.
So, the next time you’re thinking about getting anything, whether it’s flowers or insurance, consider going local. You might be surprised to find it’s both cheaper and better. (Ironically, I found this local agent by using NetQuote , a national broker of insurance agents)
(Photo: cups )