This morning, I reblogged and Twittered a post I saw on Tumblr from a man whose family had been put through the wringer by +Progressive Insurance
It's a truly appalling story of corporate greed and moral bankruptcy, and it was widely reblogged and RT'd on Twitter. Progressive's efforts at damage control are almost as bad as the company's conduct in the first place.
I got this message from the Progressive Twitter account:
"This is a tragic case, and our sympathies go out to Mr. Fisher and his family for the pain they’ve had to endure. We fully investigated this claim and relevant background, and feel we properly handled the claim within our contractual obligations. Again, this is a tragic situation, and we’re sorry for everything Mr. Fisher and his family have gone through."
As you can see from the attached image, I wasn't the only one who got the identical message. Excuse me while I'm overwhelmed by the company's compassionate sincerity.
Unsurprisingly, Progressive has deleted the callous robotweets from their Twitter account. I'm sure that's going to work out really well for the company. I mean, when you delete something from the Internet, it just goes away forever, right?
When I saw this series of tone deaf tweets, I put together a recording in Audacity that captures just exactly how the PRBot sounded. I uploaded it to my Tumblr, in case you want to listen to it: http://wilwheaton.tumblr.com/post/29382479767/dear-progressive-insurance-pr-bot-this-is-what
There are two stories here that angried up my blood:
1. Assuming that the story as told by Matt is entirely true (and Progressive hasn't rebutted it, though the company has been given ample opportunity to do so), it's yet another example of a callous company putting profits over people. That disgusts me. When you need to file a claim with your insurance company, they should be compassionate and helpful. Progressive was neither. This family lost a sister and a daughter who did nothing wrong, and Progressive put them through a shitstorm to save some money. Fuck everything about that.
2. This is a textbook example, alongside Jose Martinez from Brand Link Communications (http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2011/10/please-stand-by-for-a-demonstration-of-relevancy.html
) and Paul Christoforo at Ocean Marketting (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111227/12593617206/latest-entrant-how-not-to-do-marketing-online-world-ocean-marketing-fail.shtml
) of how not
to do PR or Social Media. It just blows my mind that people like this get paid money to do a job, because they are profoundly
bad at it.
If you're a Progressive customer, I hope you'll consider canceling your policy, and telling them why. If you're in the market for insurance, I hope you will choose a different provider than Progressive.