While wasting 40 minutes waiting for Cornhill to answer its telephone I decided to write this letter during my enforced torture by Muzak.

My first call was immediately hung up as soon as it went through without me speaking to anyone. Having worked in a call centre I know this trick.

When the call centre employee hangs straight up it registers on their call log as another call answered and also helps keep the average length of their calls down, which they are under pressure to hit targets on.

My second call was greeted with a message that the call centre was shut suggesting I call back during opening times (my call was at 4.30pm on a Wednesday).

I eventually had to hang up without speaking to anyone as it turned 5pm and their office shut.

It occurred to me during this wait that as most insurers present the same problems, it might be worth us brokers keeping an accurate record of calls to the insurer call centres.

We could make a note of how long we were kept holding, how many times the call centre hung up on us before speaking to us, etc.

We could then send these to Insurance Times and the insurers might actually realise how much of our time they waste and take measures to improve their call centres.

As many of the insurers' telephone numbers are 0870, which generate an income of 10p a minute while we are holding on, the cynic in me suspects they won't improve things, but you never know.

Michael Warman
Service Insurance Bureau

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