Naïve Marketing Strategies#5: Pet owners aren’t simple

Critter pays homage to KlimtI’ve not mentioned this before, but Critter – seen here paying homage to Klimt – has not been well lately. Go see Shrek 2 and watch out for the Puss in Boots hairball sequence. That’s how Critter’s been for almost three weeks (not hair though) following a disagreement with some antibiotics.

Anyway. He’s well insured and so enjoys healthcare on demand at one of the country’s leading veterinary hospitals (a far cry from his hobo days). His insurers, MORE TH>N, paid out pretty promptly but what’s awoken the curmudgeon in me is the tone of the covering letter. ‘Do write and let me know how everything went,’ writes Stephanie Simmonds, ‘and tell us how you’re both getting on.’ Given that Stephanie’s (understandably?) too busy to sign the letter by hand, I have to doubt MORE TH>N’s sincerity. I don’t imagine for a moment that anyone at the oddly named Ceefa Deefa House felt tearful at the idea of Critter being unable to keep his food down. And I bet I wouldn’t get a similar letter if my CDs got nicked – ‘Do let us know how you’re getting on re-building the collection’ – because they only write letters like that to people with pets, as if keeping an animal softens the brain.

Somewhere there’s a little old lady penning a couple of thousand words on the life and times of Benjie the poodle under the mistaken impression that somebody cares.

Naïve Marketing Strategies#4: ‘Academic’ endorsement……#6: Political Advertising

Critter’s hunting, fishing & doing drugs

One thought on “Naïve Marketing Strategies#5: Pet owners aren’t simple

  1. By e-mail

    Hello there, very random e-mail but having read the above mentioned diary entry (entitled Naive Marketing Strategies#5: Pet owners aren’t simple) I felt I simply HAD to write!

    I was searching the internet for the address of the Pet Insurance Company I worked for a few years ago as I needed a referee for a new job. Typing in Ceefa Deefa House, my ex-workplace, to google came up with the address I needed, but also threw up your diary entry! Having worked for More Th>n Pets (which, incidentally is run by another pet insurance company, Pet Healthcare Services, who also used to run Sainsbury’s Bank Petcare), I felt compelled to set your sceptical mind straight! :-)

    Only a handful of people work in the company – maybe 10 who process claims and 10 customer care advisors on the phone. Contrary to your doubt, it is most likely that the people dealing with your claim DID care how it turned out! I would regularly recieve letters, even photos, from customers happy that their pets were on the way to recovery. It was one of the best parts of an otherwise pretty unremarkable job! I genuinely was pleased when customers with whom I had been dealing with on a regular basis told me their pets were getting on well. Due to the intimate nature of the call centre customers could easily get hold of the same advisor every time they called – often asking for their favourite.

    Many a time have I had to almost counsel bereft owners after the worst has happened. Believe it or not we all had some training in advising them! In my interview process I was asked about whether I was a pet lover or not, indeed, ALL the people working at Ceefa Deefa House (curiously – cringworthingly – so named to mean Ceefa (C for) Cat, Deefa (D for) Dog) either were or had been pet owners, and all pet lovers.

    As for Stephanie Simmonds, she was the biggest dog lover of all, her faithful friend often accompanying her to the office. So you see, although it may be, to some extent, a “marketing strategy”, the sentiment behind your covering letter was real. Not all insurance companies have vast call centres, situtated on the other side of the world, with people who wouldn’t know or care about the difference between hip dysplasia and gingivitis. Some really are small offices, by the river in pituresque Henley-on-Thames, with customer care advisors who really do just that – CARE.

    Ok, rant over! You must think I am completely barmy now, honestly I’m not, I just don’t like misrepresentation! Would be very interested to see what you make of all this!

    Izy x

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