This is a weekly serial story about customer service in ten chapters. If you missed the previous chapters, please click on this link:


Customer service – Chapter 8

George drove to Aberdeen airport, where he returned the hire car and got back in his own car for the 2 hour drive to Edinburgh Airport where he parked it in the far corner of the long term car park.

He sorted out his identity before leaving his car. He chose one of his personas from the twenty or so he had in stock. He was now Malcolm Green, complete with passport and driving licence. He took the flight-approved carry on case from the boot, loaded with clothes to make it feel the right weight and wheeled it off to the departures area of the terminal. He then walked along to the café where he enjoyed a coffee while he waited for the incoming Easy Air flight from Bristol to arrive. When he saw the stream of arriving passenger, he merged with them, pulling his trolley bag along behind him. The Hurtz man behind the car hire desk saw him coming from arrivals and prepared to sort out a car for him.

‘Hello, my name is Green, Malcolm Green. I phoned you yesterday about hiring a small car for a couple of days?’

‘Yes Mr Green, I have an Escort for you, waiting out on our car park, fuelled up and ready to go.’

‘Great,’ said Malcolm. He completed the formalities, accepted the keys and walked out to the car park where he put the bag in the boot and set off.

He drove home, only stopping in Dundee at an internet café, to print out the photo of his latest target from his current e mail account and checked that his customer had increased the price in accordance with George’s demands. 20% of the increase went to his agent, of course, so George knew he would negotiate well. It is worth a few minutes of arguing to get anything up to £20,000 – tax free.

He did some research, timed his target’s movements on Sunday and checked the type of car. He would be driving a Skoda Yeti, License number XZ13 6FG. He would reach Stannochy Bridge, driving North at about 9pm – nicely dark and after most of the day’s traffic. The ideal time to carry out a contract.

He then drove back to his Scottish lock up garage where he busied himself with some plywood, a jigsaw and some white paint and rope, before driving the escort into his garage and securely locking it for the night before walking around the corner to his B & B, ready for the job tomorrow.


Colin Read put his head around the door of Stephen Moore’s office and said, ‘you wanted a word. Steve?’

‘Yes, come on in Colin, pour yourself a coffee and sit down. Now let me tell you a story. As you know, I started in this job about a year ago and it has been going very well. I have really enjoyed my time here. This was until I started our loyalty programme. This was the idea that life insurance is a long term business and if you play fair with your long standing customers, you will reap the benefits and perhaps pass you on to their children, so you get the next generation of customers.

I looked into our data base for all those people who had been with us for more than five years and wrote them a letter, offering them a 10% discount on their premiums. Most people wrote back saying they were happy with our service and they would be delighted to accept the discount. Then the unhappy letters started coming back. I received thirty six in total saying that they had expected to be recipients of a policy that paid out when one of their relations had died but that the company refused to pay on the grounds of some detail in the small print.

I checked back through the policies and found that, according to our records, they were still in force, the insured person was in good health and the premiums were still being paid. This set alarm bells ringing, hence this conversation with you, Colin. Here is a copy of one such letter from Mr and Mrs Evans of Crediton in Devon. We obviously have a communication problem within the company and also seem to be getting a bad name through no fault of ours.’

‘I’ve been here as a fraud investigator for fifteen years, Steve, and this is a new one on me. Normally I investigate claims for deaths on policies that have recently been taken out, not someone trying to keep a policy going. The only reason I can think of is to use the dead person’s identity for some criminal purpose. Shall I look into this?’

‘Yes, definitely. Why not start with these customers in Crediton and try to find out what is going on?’

‘OK, Steve. I’ll have a sniff around and dig up some information.’


© Richard Kefford                                                                                                        Eorðdraca


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