The other day I was thinking about some of the ‘classics’ we have had here in the Boston area regarding different types of food. Three came to mind immediately:

1. Blueberry muffins from Jordan Marsh
2. Ice cream sundaes at Baileys
3. Clam chowder at Legal’s Sea Food restaurants.

Fortunately the last classic restaurant and chowder still exists. The other two are gone into the pages of history.

What makes a food – or anything else for that matter – a classic?

I submit that the main attribute is the experience the food (or product or service) provides the customer.

But while all classics are wonderful experiences not all experiences are classics.

A company can build off of their classics. The company can generate a stream of revenue from them and broaden their footprint into other products. The experience customers feel from the classic allows companies to experiment or offer new products. Of course, not all of the company’s new products will be classics. And the company has an obligation to maintain the trust they have engendered with their customers. The new products must enable the same or similar experience the customer associates with the company.

What about insurance companies? Where are the ‘classics?’

I’d submit there are only a handful when we use the prism of considering classics – and in that case, companies known for the wonderful experience they provide their clients:

1. USAA’s customer service
2. Chubb’s exemplary attention to the high net-worth households
3. Northwestern Mutual’s focus on products (and producers which also benefits the insurer’s customers)
4. Progressive’s ability to leverage technology to benefit its policyholders from business acquisition through claim adjudication
5. ?????

Who would you add to number 5 – and beyond? But be honest and demanding before answering.

Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 12:06 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. somewhat immodestly, perhaps, but quite accurately, i’d add, new york life’s web presence: first to launch site personalization (11/96); first to offer the full-range of customer service online (5/98); first to offer web 2.0 capabilities and user-generated content (4/07); first to launch a full-scale mobile web presence (2/08) — and last (as of most recent dalbar report) to hold the #1 rank for consumer life & annuity web sites, having held that position since 3Q 2005… i could go on…

  2. and let me add to your #1: usaa’s marketing excellence in general & online marketing chops in particular.

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