Friday, November 30, 2012

What happens if bookkeepers run your biz?

This week I did get a mail from my car insurance. There was a letter that due to some market conditions, they had to increase the price. I can understand that. So, then I did check the price increase and I couldn’t believe it, as the increase was 56%!!

My thought was that this had to be a mistake, so, I did call the insurance. The customer service lady was already glad that I didn’t shout at her, clearly I was not the only one picking up the phone! She had to check this with another department and said she would call me back. She did call me back and sais that indeed there was a mistake, the price increase should have been 50% as that was the maximum increase allowed according to their T&C’s. Again I was flabbergasted, because I have been driving without any damages for at least 22 years! I did tell her that now I was forced to check out other offers in the market and she said that she could understand this. End of call!

I did check out several options and I did find another assurance, which was even 39% cheaper than my original insurance, before the price increase! That makes me happy again. But obviously not the original insurer.

It is clear that bookkeepers have had a look at the numbers and they decided to increase the prices to cover the costs. Clearly they had no feeling at all for customer behavior (and even their own behavior). I guess that 95% of their customers, who have the same experience as I had, will leave. This means they will end up with just a very few customers paying the higher price. They will loose a lot of business! While this price increase is clearly absurd, they also could have looked at the Lifetime Value of their customers. I did pay my insurance to them for more than 10 years without any damage, so this revenue went straight to the bottom-line.  If they would have looked at this then they already could see that any price increase would have a negative effect.

Who is more important, the bookkeepers or the customers!

PS. This is a large insurance company from the largest mobility organization in the country!

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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Friday, November 16, 2012

There are always opportunities for innovation

These days, if you follow the news, it is a lot of doom and gloom. Hurricane Sandy, earthquakes, Syrian war, rising numbers of unemployment etc. It is easy to be influenced by this kind of news. Therefor I do recommend spending a minimal amount of time following this negative news. And then you can use the ‘extra’ time to discover inspiring news. There are many blogs, videos, and podcasts, articles that emphasize positive and innovative news.

These circumstances provide a good breeding ground for new innovations. Please bear in mind that most innovations start at the edge and not at the center of most activities. It is hard to be innovative if you follow the pack. For example, I just listened to an interview with someone from Aurora pens and he said that the focus on standardization (in his case pc’s tablets, phones) gives him the opportunity to specialize in a niche area (nice writing instruments). He even mentioned a research that some schools in Italy are having their kids use fountain pens, as this improves their learning capability!

It is an interesting approach to do the opposite of what is at the center, e.g.

Center                                                           Edge
- standardization                                           - tailoring
- fashion colors are mild                                - colors are extreme
- eat as much as you can                               - eat as healthy as you can
- attain more goods                                       - have great experiences
- use plastics                                                 - use natural materials

You can go on and on with this approach. And it works, there are always customers who want to feel special and who have special needs. It is also easier to be successful at the edge than trying to innovate from the core.

What inspires you, today?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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