The challenge of customer service in today’s world

(or how Ivans Insurance failed to deliver).

Originally I was thinking about calling this article “Help, Ivans is holding my data hostage!” Serously. But then I realized that it was inaccurate and a little harsh and also that Applied Systems might get mad at me. Not that I really care, but I don’t want to get sued.

I had a new computer installed in my office recently, and I needed to move software from one computer to another. An everyday problem…

That’s when I called Ivans Insurance. It’s their software. They control the software. They control my mailbox. They control the download of policies to my office. Critical stuff to our business. Serious stuff.

They are a company owned by Applied Systems, one of the top insurance software companies. Again, all I needed to do was move their software from one computer to another. It’s software that is critical to our daily operation, allowing our agency to download policy information from the company. There’s more to it, but that’s basically it.

So, I needed the link to download the software to the new computer. That’s it. Actually…I also needed technical assistance in configuring the software so it would work (so I thought).

I sent an email to the company. The response from Ivans was that they could not provide the link, that it would violate the companies agreement with vendors. No other solution was presented as an option.

I think I spoke to someone on the phone, too, who curtly told me that they probably would not be able to help me.

Then, I asked them to escalate the issue to a manager. No response.

Second request. No response.

Phone call from someone at Ivans to let me know that they could not help me. Yeah…thanks!

Long story short…my issue is resolved, but through no help from Ivans (the truth), or my software vendor. The difference is that I did not expect any help from Vertafore. I expected help from of the leading insurance software companies, who apparently does not have a customer service training program.

Granted, I am a difficult and demanding customer…but that’s what training is for (they’re trying to train me to be nicer, it hasn’t worked so far). Moreover, I am a potential customer, or was a potential customer. I believe in second chances, but if that’s the general tenor of the company, then I politely refuse to spend my money there.

Not that it really matters, though.

We’re just a tiny little agency in Connecticut with (5) users, right?

Interestingly, I found the link to the current version of Transfer Manager right on their web site. Anyone could find it there. It goes without saying that I found it and installed the program. I was then able to export the settings from the current setup on another computer, and import that backup file to the new installation. Dial (203) 453-5258 extension 102 for tech support and friendly customer service.

Problem solved and a pat on the back to myself.

They could have instructed me to do the same thing, instead of sticking to company policy, and the insistence that they could not provide that information or you would be violating the agreement with vendors (which might be true, but is not helpful). By the way, if it’s true wouldn’t having the link on the website (or at least the link visible/available to a search engine)violate the agreement?

Here’s the link if you’re interested:

Why does any of this matter?

Why does a tiny little agency in CT matter to Ivans Insurance and Applied Systems? It matters because I am a potential Applied Systems customer, as are many other agency owners out there. When you deliver exceptional customer service (exceptional is almost always outside the confines of normal protocol), it says good things to customers and prospects alike. It simply makes them feel good about spending money with a company, any company. I say simply, because delviering exceptional customer service is not complicated. It just requires a shift.

Honestly, the interactions that I had with Ivans Insurance (not counting the message I received from VP of Products, Paul Warga, which was polite, professional and customer service focused) were unhelpful, and the non-responses to my emails were annoying. The whole experience was unpleasant. In fact, this experience would discourage me from thinking about doing business with Applied Systems. That probably sounds dramatic and probably doesn’t matter to a big company like Applied Systems. After all, we’re just a tiny little agency in CT.

Then again, I might be shopping for an agency management system soon…remember I said that the end of life for Vertafore Prime is slated for 12/31/2016. Yeah.

So…I’m still curious about the following (but I’m not holding my breath):

What support do they provide to agencies that are not paying support fees?

What support do you provide, if any, to agencies that are running their own software?

In the end, it’s all about the almighty dollar and we would be placed in the same category as software vendors, and required to pay Ivans a tidy sum.

That’s my rant for today.

George Page, Jr.

Page Insurance, Ltd

(203) 453-5258 Office Original message
From: “George Page” <[email protected]>
To: [email protected];
Dated: 5/11/2016 2:36:23 PM
Subject: Re: Transfer Manager Installation

I received a voicemail from Dorrie (sp?)…I still do not understand. We do not pay support to Vertafore, therefore they will not honor any request for support. Incidentally, end of life for Vertafore Prime is scheduled for 12/31/2016, so support would end then anyway.

Incidentally, what if I was running a proprietary software that I developed and maintained on my own?

Email is the best way to get in touch with me.

George Page

On Wed, May 11, 2016 at 12:47 PM, George Page <[email protected]> wrote:

No response? I’m still waiting.

Original message
From: “George Page”  
To: [email protected];
Dated: 5/6/2016 10:46:39 AM

Subject: RE: Transfer Manager Installation

Thank you for your email.

Please escalate this to your manager and get back to me.

George Page, Jr.

Page Insurance, Ltd

(203) 453-5258 Office

Original message
From: TMSupport    
To: [email protected];
Dated: 5/6/2016 10:43:00 AM
Subject: RE: Transfer Manager Installation

Hello George,

Unfortunately we do not provide the TM client link directly to agents.  The software is licensed to the vendors and we would be violating our agreement with the vendors.

Ron Lassiter | Associate Technical Support Specialist

IVANS Insurance Solutions, a division of Applied Systems, Inc. | [email protected]

P: 855-233-9128 F: 813-288-3299 

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From: George Page [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, May 06, 2016 10:38 AM
To: TMSupport
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: Transfer Manager Installation

Good Morning,

We run Vertafore Prime in our office, on Win 7. We do NOT pay for support. We need to install/move Transfer Manager on a new machine, so I am requesting the download link for the appropriate version of Transfer Manager.

I was told by your colleague that this is not typical and that I should request support from our software vendor. Again, we do NOT pay support for our software, so they will not provide any guidance.  This will definitely continue after Vertafore discontinues support for the Prime product after 12/31/2016.

Please send me the link to the appropriate version of Ivans Transfer Manager so I can install it on the new machine. This will ensure we are able to continue to download policies and serve our customers efficiently.

Let me know if you have any questions.

George Page, Jr.

Page Insurance, Ltd

(203) 453-5258 Office