When a friend mentioned some too-good-to-believe, low-risk, high-yield annuities that she had purchased, I decided to find a similar deal. I googled “annuities” and turned up 2Insure4Less. I quickly completed a form requesting quotes on annuities. Within minutes, my phone rang off the hook, and my inbox was flooded by what would be the first of a succession of almost identical canned e-mails from different insurance companies.
What interested me about the e-mails was the tone. Within the course of a week, the tone of these successive e-mails went from pleasant to ominous.
Day 1 Tone: A pleasure to serve you
“Your request for an insurance quote was referred to (NAME OF AGENT). Your quote is being prepared and you will be contacted shortly. However if you wish to discuss your coverage right away, please contact (NAME OF AGENT) and you will be serviced immediately. We appreciate the opportunity to quote your insurance and look forward to serving all your insurance needs.”
Day 4 Tone (following a flurry of phone messages): Urgent
“The insurance quote you have requested at 2Insure4Less.com has been prepared and you are advised to call the insurance agency as soon as possible. The quote is based on the information you have provided and may be adjusted based on your coverage budget requirements. . .”
Day 5 Tone: Impatient
“We have not heard from you yet and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the quote we have prepared per your request. . . . To provide you with an accurate quote, we need a few minutes of your time to discuss all available options and answer any questions your might have. Please call the phone number below during regular business hours.”
Day 7 Tone: Ominous
“This is the last reminder. We have made several attempts to reach you by phone and e-mail to provide you with the insurance quote you requested.
Please call as soon as possible using the number below. If we do not hear from you in the next 48 hours, your quote will expire and the information you have provided will be deleted . . .”
The Day 7 e-mails left me wondering: do these guys moonlight as bill collectors? (Last reminder. . . If we do not hear from you in the next 48 hours. . . Your quote will expire.)
Surely, I should get more than a week before I “expire.” The agent that I’m likely to call back sent an e-mail telling me his qualifications, providing links to his book on annuities and some general information on annuities. It was friendly, personal and nonthreatening.
— Marilynne Rudick (guest blogger)