Expat Adventures: Getting a Car

Last Friday I bought a car – it’s winter and therefore the ski season, and I get a little crazy living in the cold if I don’t ski. Skiing is the point of living somewhere cold, I think.

On Monday I went to get my license exchanged. It was painless. I handed in my British one, had my eyes tested quickly and walked out with a piece of paper that allows me to drive in Canada. My license card will arrive in the post. You would think this would be the hardest part about starting to drive in another country, but it was not.

I’d called my insurance broker on Friday and given her the details. I followed up on Monday with my license number and the other information she had asked for. She’d warned me it wouldn’t be instant and said I might need slightly different documents, but by Wednesday she hadn’t followed up – she didn’t respond to my email asking for a progress report, nor did she answer the phone, or call me back (I left a message). This is frustrating when I’m trying to get information from the UK – if she doesn’t get back to me by first thing in the morning, it ends up waiting to the following day before the people in the UK can get back to me.

So I was getting progressively more frustrated and started looking for different insurance options – on Twitter.

Various people on Twitter were sending me the details of people they recommended, but I was getting a few dead ends – because I’m only 24 and have had my G license for 3 days… and I was leaving loads of voicemails but getting nowhere.

Argh! I really didn’t expect getting insurance to be such a nightmare. I expected it to be expensive, but for it to take days? Then this tweet showed up in my stream:

And the following morning…

I DM’d him my number and he called me back – right away. Put me through to a human (not a voicemail!) who was really nice and on top of things, and a couple of hours later…

I liked my previous broker and would have been happy to go with them for car insurance, because when I came over to Canada it was really difficult to get household insurance and they sorted me out. But – the lasting affection from that was not enough for me to tolerate waiting that long to hear back from them!

I’ve written before about using Twitter to see what your customers are saying about you (here and here). But –  are you using Twitter to see where your competitors are screwing up and capitalizing on that? Smart move.

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