Tuesday, December 21

Progressive Insurance

This is so cool! Professor Vassilis Dalakas at Cal State San Marcos started a new marketing class this semester about the brand experience. We met over the summer to talk about the class and my book and his incoming students. We decided to invite students to write blog entries as guest posts, and here we have our first from student Dee Michetti. She talks about her personal experience with an insurance brand, and about how it changed her perceptions probably forever -- making her a loyal follower and a sharer. This is a great example of a brand that follows through on their advertising promise at the point of contact with consumers. Thanks so much Dee and Professor Dalakas!

What's your experience, Dee? Jim.

When it comes to engaging consumers and creating memorable experiences, most think of theme parks like Disneyland or places to take children. As a mother of two young children, and one on the way, I am always looking for a product, place, or event that will be useful, convenient, easy, fun for everyone, and one that is going to create lasting positive emotions.

One experience that I feel creates the antithesis of everything I am looking for in a positive interaction is dealing with an insurance company. Dealing with the other party, adjusters, service stations and rental companies can be such a hassle, especially when the accident was not your fault.

Recently, I was involved in a hit and run accident. I can’t imagine a more horrible experience. Just filing the police report set up expectations of a grueling experience. Three months later, I received a letter from the Highway Patrol releasing the driver’s information to me. Finally, some light at the end of the tunnel, well just a peak of light at the middle, I still had to deal with the insurance company. I called the insurance company and started my claim. To my surprise, I got a call from an adjuster just an hour later. I could not believe it. Suddenly my expectations of horrible experience were changing. The company that was changing my mind was Progressive.

I have seen the commercials for hassle free claims service through Progressive with their “Concierge” Claims Center; but this was a service that I had to experience personally to believe. When I pulled up to the claims center in San Diego , I was immediately greeted by three happy attendants who were all eager to help me. I was offered coffee and a snack before I even gave my information. There were even toys in the lobby to occupy my young child while I waited. So far, so good right? Within 15 minutes I was provided a written estimate for me to take wherever I wanted the work done. I was off on my way 30 minutes after arriving with a cup of tea and a snack for me and my son.

Because of this positive first experience, I was motivated to have my car repaired with Progressive. I had to continue and see if Progressive could fully change my mind about the accident/repair experience. My expectations were growing. I got the call to bring my car in for repairs the day before Thanksgiving. Progressive set up such positive expectations that I was not even concerned about the holiday. I was at home with my rental in less than an hour. I was greeted this time even more personally since I was dealing with the same attendant who helped me before. I received calls from the adjuster, the claims center, and the repair shop assuring me that I was being taken care of. It was amazing! When it came time to pick up my vehicle, Progressive even gave me the opportunity to keep the rental car for another 24 hours, giving me the convenience to get my car when I was ready. I picked up my car and the attendants switched out my car seats, and even watched my children as I inspected my car.

Progressive even guaranteed my repairs for the life of the vehicle. In dealing with Progressive, I had no hassles, only had to drive to one spot to drop of the rental and pick up my newly repaired car; received “personal” care and was treated like a Progressive customer throughout the whole experience. I was so happy with my service that I am now switching to Progressive!

For a busy mom, Progressive was my Disneyland for accident repairs, I will forever remember this wonderful experience and am telling everyone I know!

I base my day on expectations and creating affective expectations is what marketing is all about. In addition to feeling emotions during the experience, many times people feel emotions in anticipation of the experience. I do not want to invest my time or money on something that I know will let me or my family down. My expectations in dealing with an insurance company were negative in the beginning; however, through the marketing and services provided by Progressive, I was able to reset my expectations. They based their marketing and services on what the consumer needs, wants, and desires building on emotions and necessity. To me, this is the best way to reach a busy mom like myself.

- Dee Michetti, student at Cal State San Marcos

PS - Dee, I love your line "Progressive was my Disneyland"! Glad you're ok from the accident. Jim.


  1. It just goes to show that people really can make a difference. Because good customer service is so rare I find that I always share my good experiences with others because unfortunately I'm often shocked to find someone who a) knows what they're doing and b) does it!

  2. So true, Amanda. Customer service should be a huge part of the brand experience, and needs to be thoroughly and strategically planned for consumer satisfaction. In way too many cases it is not. Clearly with Progressive it is! Jim.

  3. Progressive Insurance --people have different views some favor it but some other speak against it again the decision vary from person to person

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