I fall into the age category that has been around long enough to need a pretty broad range of insurance…to be on the safe side. We have most of our insurance with a Dutch company, OHRA…I don’t know if it stands for anything. Doesn’t matter.

We started with this company when I first moved to the Netherlands. We had our house insurance with them. Gradually over time we added other types of insurance and consolidated our existing insurance with them. In the past few months, my daughter scratched the side of one of the neighbor’s cars with her bike. She lost control as she was riding home by herself one day. It happens. 

As all good neighbors do (or at least how I was raised) we went to the neighbors and told them about it and proceeded to file a claim with OHRA. We received a letter back with the form that we needed to fill in. Something in the letter was very striking to me. It said, ‘we understand that Lily had an accident with the neighbor’s car…’. Wow, they called her Lily! Not ‘your daughter’, not ‘Lily van de Laar’. ‘Lily’. It came across as a very personal letter. But it doesn’t stop there…

My husband had a question about the form, so he called to ask for help. He explained the situation and the person on the other end asked, ‘Is Lily OK?’ Double WOW! It’s multi-channel ‘Lily’!  This is a ‘big f***ing deal’. Do you know how hard it is for big companies to take decisions like this?  Across multiple channels, throughout the whole organisation, to speak to customers using only first names?  I do.  It’s daring, it’s different, it’s very, very personal. I loved it! I felt like they knew us. And frankly, after 10 years of being a customer, they should.

This is what every company is trying to do right now, be different, stand out. This approach isn’t relevant for all customers, think about older people who would find this disrespectful, or new customers who perhaps don’t yet feel as if you know them well enough to speak to them in this way, but for existing customers who fit a certain profile…  It’s clear they had made a conscious decision about how they wanted to engage their customers.

It’s a small thing, but a big decision for a company to take this step.  In my experience really great customer experiences are most often about small things.  But small things from the customer perspective…not the company’s perspective.  It sounds so easy, and yet it isn’t. I admire that OHRA dared to be different. I live this stuff day-in, day-out so I’m constantly in a state of hyper-awareness about it. The true gauge of their success is the fact that my husband actually told me about this telephone conversation because HE was so surprised by it.

Compliments to OHRA. With this company, I feel as though they truly know me.  And that’s no small accomplishment.  Trust me, I know about such things.

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