Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Quote Please"

I don't know about all of you but, I find myself paying more attention to commercials and corporate messages lately. I'm sure you have all seen the Amica Insurance commercial before. Let me refresh your memory, the commercial shows a series of individuals, in their homes, or at work, holding up signs with names of friends and family. The signs represent how they heard about Amica and their quality services. Some signs say "my brother," "my neighbor," "my co-worker," etc. What an obvious display of word of mouth! I decided to surf the net and see what Amica's secret to successful word of mouth is.

I found a website called 1to1 Media which gave a nice overview of the Amica relationship strategy. As we have discussed in class, Amica prides themselves on providing quality service which then translates into customer loyalty. It is these loyalists or evangelists which then spread the word through their networks about Amica's services. As expressed in a previous post, customer service is a key element to high customer satisfaction and Amica achieves this by ensuring that customers will speak with an experienced customer service representative relatively quickly. On Amica's website, they emphasize personal service, fast claims, and dealing directly with client as some of their strengths. They even describe the company culture as one that emphasizes customer satisfaction and they refer to themselves as the "Amica Family." Overall, the Amica experience is one of great satisfaction that in return retains customers. To relate this to what we have discussed in class, a good product or service will generate and maintain a steady flow of positive word-of-mouth.

Bruce Maynard, Senior Assistant Vice President is credited as saying "We're pretty much the same company we were 100 years ago in terms of our basic philosophy: If you do the best you can, to the maximum it can be done, then your customers are going to reward you, not only with their loyalty and their dollars but with referrals."

This all seems pretty obvious but it appears to be a hard thing for some companies to grasp. I think that this strategy worked for Amica because they have implemented it from the beginning. A company that is recovering from a bruised reputation may have a hard time transforming into a relationship focused company. Afterall, negative word of mouth is hard to get rid of and if posted on the internet, permanent.



FrankBenway said...

My senior year of high school I took a semester of an auto shop class, and the school's auto shop teacher was a huge Amica Insurance Evangelist!! During the classroom portion of the class, students learn about purchasing, financing, and insuring their cars, and the instructor couldn't say enough good about Amica to his dozens of students each semester. I only went with Arbella Insurance because my broker got me a better rate there, but I know of a good number of people I went to high school with who use Amica because of our teacher's praises.

tanyak said...

I think this ties in perfectly with the previous post (by me). It is a perfect example of a company that utilizes the powerful tool- its own employees. A company that stresses customer satisfation through positive employee interaction has tapped in to an easy to use marketing tool. I think if even companies who pay their workers minimum wage create a fun, positive work environment for their employees, it would significantly increase monetary returns. I worked at Blockbuster and got paid minimum wage. However, my boss was fanatstic at creating an environment where employees stayed happy. We all got along and work was fun. Which was reflected in our interactions with our customers. Clearly, Amica has tapped into this resource and is thriving.

Kennie Swanson said...

I also can relate very well to this post and the comments made. Like a few other of us in class, I work for an online furniture retailer as a customer service representative. When I tell my friends about where I work, they kind of brush me off at first because it doesn't sound like the coolest job in the world. However, after I explain the young, relaxed, fun environment, they are a little more receptive to my job choice.

Furthermore, as an employee I enjoy coming to work because I know the management and coworkers will be fun to be around. This attitude reflects in the level of service we give our customers and I can recall many times where a customer has told me that they specifically chose our company for the great customer service.