Update 2015 – due to the popular Google positioning for this blog, and to save you time, if you are looking to complain about Equity Red Star, then this blog doesn’t contain their contact details.  However, if you are interested in them from the viewpoint of the pitfalls when considering using them, then please feel free to read on …

What do people think about your business?  We mean really think?

If people had reason to complain about your business, would you rather they came directly to you or would it be better for them to complain everywhere else, resulting in negative publicity for you?  Read on because you may see the benefits in having a complaints page on your website.

A perfect example of this is Equity Red Star, a business we’ve had cause to complain about recently.

Equity Red Star – giving insurance a particularly bad name

A long story cut short, a recent (late 2014) car accident, in which the other party was clearly responsible (although there were no witnesses), turned completely the other way when it came to apportion blame.

The other driver had been responsible for what was a seemingly minor impact bump (no more than 10mph), had apologised twice while giving their details, and also commented that she’d only just got their car back after an accident.  Most people would take that as claiming responsibility.

Thousands of pounds of damage repairs later (a surprisingly high amount, considering the slight impact between the cars), and then a few weeks, and it was time to renew car insurance … which came in at £400 per year more than previously.

When this was questioned, we were told (by the insurance broker) that we were considered to be the guilty party and that’s why the insurance was so high.  What was even more surprising was that the other party was claiming personal injury (presumably whiplash) when there was no possible way that such a thing could have happened (given the speed etc. of the impact).  In short, an extremely dishonest person who took a decision to try and make money from an insurance claim – and succeeded.

After the original accident, we supplied a multitude of photographic evidence, diagrams, details etc. related to the accident, making it very clear that (having heard that the other party were no longer going to take responsibility) we were more than happy to go to court to fight the other party.

But we heard nothing back from Equity Red Star, who apparently didn’t even have the decency to tell us that we were considered to be the party at blame, so that we could respond to them.

So, when we got the insurance renewal quote and spoke to the broker, we tried to phone Equity Red Star and, surprise surprise, found it impossible to get through.  So we emailed and of course, no speedy email reply was forthcoming.

Equity Red Star bad reviews

Only then did we do something that is so simple and yet we didn’t do when originally quoted insurance with them (via the broker).  We searched Google for ‘Equity Red Star complaints’ and boy did we find a lot of them!

Top of Google for that is the page http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews112963.html, which gives them a shocking 1.3 out of 5 stars (from 122 reviews at the time).  106 of those reviews were 1 star, as the screenshot below shows …

equity-red-star-logo

Reading through the reviews it became clear that Equity Red Star are an appalling insurer and have absolutely no care for their customers, in the event of a claim.

But we didn’t just look there, we went to the other websites in the same search results and found many similar stories.

Interestingly, although a few PDFs related to Equity Red Star are on the first page Google results, there’s no specific ‘complaints’ page showing.  We’ll come back to that in a bit, as there’s a potential tip here for all types of businesses.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing

Going back to when we originally got quotes for insurance, when the broker said ‘Equity Red Star’, what we should have done is gone to Google and typed their business name, followed by ‘complaints’, ‘reviews’, and similar.   That would have set alarm bells off and we would have asked our broker to look elsewhere.

Such hindsight, combined with an overwhelming feeling of injustice at the hands of this bunch of insurance clowns leads to the wish to tell other people about them.   That starts with a blog and escalates into the joys of social media.  If the blog gets prominence in Google, then that’d be a bonus because every person who decides not to use them for insurance helps to lead to their weakening as a business.

The relevance of this to your business

Here’s the relevance to your business and website statistics.  Not necessarily A1WebStats statistics (Google Analytics would be perfectly sufficient for this).

Equity Red Star don’t have a complaints page (at least, not one that appears in Google) but if they did then they would have the ability to track how many people click through to it from Google searches.  And if they see strong numbers of people having reason to do that, then even the thickest of their clearly incompetent management would manage to work out that there were serious problems within their business, and hopefully they’d take action.  In this case though, judging by all the negativity about them, they’d be better off killing the brand and starting again.

So here’s an idea – create a ‘complaints’ page for your business.  It doesn’t have to be in the main navigation bar, but should be accessible by a menu, and should certainly be easy to find by Google.   It’s quite likely that few people have reason to complain about your business but by having a complaints page that basically says something like this, then you’re sending out a simple but positive message that you care:

ABC Ltd Complaints

We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and it’s extremely unusual for anyone to have a need to complain about us.  However, we wanted to have a complaints page available, that’s easy to find online, and that gives a firm commitment in the unlikely event that anyone should wish to complain.

In that unlikely event, we commit to:

  1. Acknowledging your complaint within 2 working hours.
  2. Responding to your complaint within 1 working day, with a copy of the complaint and our response passed to our Managing Director.
  3. Us working with you to resolve the complaint to your total satisfaction.

We have also included this form below, which ensures the correspondence goes quickly to the best department to receive the complaint.

Overkill? Perhaps you could say that.  But think about the benefits …

If your ‘complaints’ page comes up high in Google for ‘company name complaints’ and you are monitoring the numbers of people who enter your website via that page, then you gain an insight into how many people are searching on such a keyword phrase.  Hopefully, you’ll find that the numbers are very low.  If the numbers aren’t very low and also, if people are actually filling in the complaints form, then you do at least know that you have an opportunity to strengthen parts of your business.

 

Comments

  1. I have a car and a classic motorcycle insured with equity red star and with both I have had recent problems
    My car was parked on a Morrison’s car park on the 22nd Dec 2015 and was hit while I was inside shopping. The third party drove away without leaving any information but someone noted the cars details and left them with Morrison’s Customer Relations.
    Incident reported to ERS then the run around started.
    The third party had reported the incident to her Insurance company but did not except responsibility, so ERS would not call the incident a “non fault” for me.
    From my information ERS have still not claimed from the Third Parties Insurance for the repair of my car.
    On the 5th June my classic bike broke down so I called the ERS “Call Assist” and they left me at the side of the motorway for 4.5hours.
    My Car is with one Broker and my Bike is with another, both are Classic Insurance with one common denominator, ERS
    It will be interesting to see what happens when my renewals are due

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