Written by Karen Casey, CISR, PWCA
Great customer service is all about valuing your customers and working to keep them satisfied with your company. Satisfied customers are loyal customers; unhappy customers will take their business elsewhere. An important part of great customer service is forming and nurturing relationships with customers. These relationships help show customers that we are there for them and their business. Every customer matters!
Here are 6 important steps to great customer service:
- Be available – People like talking with a person instead of a machine or having to press numerous buttons to get to a person. If you are unavailable to speak with a customer and he or she leaves a voicemail, make sure to get back in touch as soon as possible.
- Listen to your customer – Let your customers tell you what is wrong—and listen to what they have to say. Then offer appropriate suggestions on how to solve the problem. If it is a problem that needs assistance from management, let them know that you need to get other involved to resolve the problem.
- Be Proactive – think ahead of what they may need, and look for other solutions that may help in future. Ask them is there anything else that you can help them with while you have them on the phone.
- Be Honest – if you have something you are working with a customer on, and you are not going to meet the deadline, let the client know instead of client having to call back in.
- Be helpful & courteous – Have a smile on your face when you answer the phone. That smile can and will be heard. If you answer without that smile, the client may feel like they are bothering you or you don’t care about their problem.
- Don’t pass the call around – help the client if you can or if you need to pass it to someone, let them know the information that you have collected from talking with client. Don’t blind transfer.
Stop and think how you would like to be treated when you call into a business. What customer service issues really aggravate you? Keep these issues in mind when dealing with customers.
Going the extra mile to really help a customer will likely be rewarding in the long run.
Donation From Jacksonville’s SIA Group and Fireman’s Fund Insurance To Support Local Fire Department Equipment PurchasesPosted: April 25, 2012
Don Mills, president of SIA Group has announced that the firm has partnered with Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company to donate $5,032 to the Verona Volunteer Fire Department to purchase two new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). SIA Group and Fireman’s Fund presented the grant package to the Fire Department on Tuesday April 10.
“We are proud to help in such a meaningful way, knowing these firefighters will benefit from such an important donation,” said Bill Mills of SIA Group. “Having updated gear isn’t a luxury, it’s critical to the well-being of all firefighters.”
SCBA units are worn by firefighters in situations that involve smoke, heat, toxic gases or oxygen deficiency. Firefighters rely on SCBA for respiratory protection so that they can fight fires and work in hazardous areas.
“Our firefighters are dedicated to protecting life and property” said Fire Chief Wayne Thomas. “This grant will greatly assist our mission by providing two more firefighters with full personal protective equipment and enhance our ability to remain in hazardous atmospheres for a longer period of time.”
The grant is part of a nationwide philanthropic program funded by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. The program is designed to provide needed equipment, training and educational tools to local fire department and burn prevention organizations. Since 2004, Fireman’s Fund has issued grants to nearly 1,800 different organizations totaling more than $29 million. Independent insurance agencies and brokers that sell Fireman’s Fund products, like SIA Group, are able to direct these grants to support the fire service.
Written by Rachel Fulton of SIA Group
I love my brother to the moon and back. He is smart, talented and has a smile that melts my sisterly heart. But we are very different people. We were both raised in the same household environment; our mother didn’t smoke, drink or take any other kind of baby-damaging products during either pregnancy. Yet he suffers from allergies, fights off the flu at least once every couple of years and also comes down with other various “bugs” from time to time that lay him out for about three days. I, on the other hand, have never suffered from allergies and can’t recall the last time I ever had to visit the doctor for an illness.
Now you may think it’s cruel to rub my good fortune in his face, but it’s not just luck that keeps me in such a state of well-being. I believe it’s my positive attitude toward life. I’m a “glass half full” kind of gal and he’s more of a “glass half empty” kind of guy. He believes he is a realist, not a pessimist. But I think anything less than optimism is a waste of time, and science just so happens to agree with me.
Several studies have shown a positive correlation between subjective well-being and physical health. Dr. Clive Wood from the Department of Human Sciences at the University of Oxford reviewed several studies on this matter with thousands of participants. The conductors of the studies stated that the results were overwhelmingly in favor of this correlation. People who tested highest in self-efficacy tests were also those who reported the highest overall well-being. In general terms, people with a more positive outlook on life tend to be healthier overall and people with a negative disposition tend to be less healthy.
If you feel as though you could improve upon your attitude towards life but aren’t sure how to get started, I encourage you to find ways to make small changes. Try keeping a small notebook with you and when you feel the need to let out a complaint, write it down followed by two or three positive remarks on the topic. Example:
Negative: My boss gave me a last minute, top priority project and I have so much else on my plate!
Positive: I am the go-to person for my boss in emergency situations. That makes me important and a necessary part of the team.
Positive: In an economy like today’s, I’m grateful to have a job. Especially one that allows me to shine under pressure!
By training your mind to focus on the positive aspects of life, you will notice the negative slowly drift away. A positive attitude is a tremendous tool in this ho-hum world we live in. And why not spend what precious little time we have in the best state of health and happiness possible?
Make sure to check out the 16th episode of the Construction Industry Podcast titled “Construction Bonds for Dummies” featuring Luann Cole of SIA Group. In this episode, Luann answers questions about and discusses the benefits of construction bonds.
The episode also features Tom Buechel, creator of the iScrap smartphone app. iScrap helps locate nearby scrapyards for easy scrap selling.
Click here to listen to the episode. As always, feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment.
Spring Break is finally here. You have made your airline reservations, the bags are packed, the family is in the car and you are on your way to the airport. You cannot wait for that fantastic trip to the exotic locale your family has dreamt about all year. You get to the airport and everything is great…. however, as you are attempting to catch the next flight on your itinerary, your flight is delayed – now what? After much hassle, headache and general hysteria, your flight is ready to go. You finally arrive at your paradise destination only to find that your bags have not arrived and will not be arriving any time soon…if at all.
As much as we may hate to admit it, these kinds of things and more can happen and are pretty much unavoidable. But, did you know these issues can be handled before you make any travel arrangements?
Below is a list of ways travel insurance can set your mind at ease and allow you to enjoy your trip:
- Paying for missed flights or finding replacement flights
- Reimbursement for lost luggage
- Emergency prescriptions and local doctor recommendations
- Replacement of lost or stolen items
- Medical treatment and evacuation
- Reimbursement for non-refundable expenses
- Reimbursement due to inclement weather
If you have questions about travel insurance, contact Rose Marshburn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (910) 455-7576 and ask for Rose.
All motor vehicles licensed for the road are required by most states to carry liability insurance. But, when is it necessary for small business owners to have commercial liability insurance on their vehicles instead of a standard personal auto policy?
Here are some things to consider:
How is the vehicle titled? If titled in the name of the business, it’s important to carry commercial auto coverage naming the business as the principle named insured.
Are you using your vehicle to transport goods or people for a fee, or to conduct a business related service? If so, it’s important to have a commercial auto policy
Do you haul a large weight in tools or equipment, such as generators or hazardous materials? Or, do you tow a trailer full of equipment used to conduct your business?
Do employees use your vehicle for business related purposes?
If your employees operate their personal vehicle for your business use, be certain they have proper liability coverage on their vehicle.
Helpful Tip: Hired and Non-Owned and Driver Other Car Coverage:
It is important to add protection with “hired and non-owned coverage” when another vehicle is not owned by your business, but is being used for business purposes. It is also highly recommended to add “Drive Other Car” coverage to the policy in events where a vehicle is used for both personal and business purposes. This provides coverage to the owner and family members who may drive the car for non-business related situations as well.
The Bottom Line:
While the cost of commercial vehicle protection may be slightly higher than that of a personal auto policy, the added protection to your business will significantly reduce your risk.
Commercial vehicle insurance can protect your business against liability in the event that an accident occurs when the vehicle is being used for business purposes. Without commercial auto insurance, your business may be liable for the entire cost of an unexpected event or accident, and your business could be either sued or held responsible for excess damage over and above the minimum limits of liability.
If you are using a personally insured vehicle for both business and personal purposes, be sure to review with your agent the provisions of the policy. Business related liability may be excluded on personal policies. This may also be the case when a small business is assuming it’s protecting itself by including a personal umbrella policy.
Please review your coverage and business use of your vehicles with your agent and consider a commercial vehicle policy to protect not only your business, but all who depend upon your business, too.
Working as an Account Manager, you always like to give your clients good news. One of the worst case scenarios is when you must inform your client that a loss is not covered. Living in Eastern North Carolina, we face many types of potential wind losses due to the threat of hurricanes and tornadoes.
With regards to property coverage, here is a list of coverage endorsements that you need to consider adding to your policy:
Ordinance or Law Coverage – ISO form CP 04 05: The standard ISO Building and Personal Property form excludes coverage for any costs that are associated with building law changes.
- Example: A building has to be torn down if more than a certain percentage is destroyed and it does not meet current code. There is no coverage for the demolition of undamaged portion of building. Also, there is no coverage to bring a building up to code in order to gain permits to build.
This endorsement, if added will give coverage back for those items.
Property Coverage- Utility Services – Direct Damage- (Refer to Accord 140) Refer to Utility Services Coverage): The standard ISO cause of loss forms exclude loss due to utility service disruption of communication, power or water. This endorsement returns the cause of loss to the policy. The disruption may be due to damage to off-site facilities or power lines as selected by the insured. This does not cover consequential loss due to spoilage.
Time Element Coverage-Business Income including Extra Expense (Several Business Income Endorsements are available): There are various endorsements available. You can include extra expense or exclude extra expense. Trigger for coverage has to be caused by a covered cause of loss. Normal waiting period for this coverage is 72 hours. Coverage must be added by endorsement unless your carrier has added this coverage endorsement automatically to your property policy.
Maximum period of indemnity: Suspends coinsurance and will pay the business income for the 120 days following the date of loss. Coverage ceases after the 120th day even if the limits have not been exhausted.
Monthly Limit of Indemnity: Suspends the coinsurance and will pay the business income for 3, 4, 6 months depending on the selection made. Each month 1/3, 1/4 or 1/6 of the business limit of liability may be available to pay for the business income loss of that month.
- Example: If an insured chose the 1/3 option with a $60,000 limit, there would be $20,000 coverage available each month. If there is a loss and the first month the loss was $10,000, it would be paid, the next month the loss was $20,000 and it would be paid, the third month the loss was $30,000 – only $20,000 would be paid. If the loss continues, the remaining $10,000 is available.
Time Element – Utility Service: The standard ISO cause of loss forms exclude coverage for the utility service disruption. Since disruption of electricity, water and communication can stop certain businesses from operating, this cause of loss is necessary. Coverage may include only the off-site location or may be expanded to include the power or communication lines.
There are many coverage endorsements available to add to your Property Coverage. These are just a few of the endorsements available for your consideration.
For additional information regarding these coverage endorsements, please refer to: www.irmi.com/online/insurance or www.adjustersinternational.com. For information on how to calculate the correct amount of ordinance of law coverage, please refer to: www.mynewmarkets.com