“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

That also describes our experience last week.

Thanks to our outstanding agents we had already reached our best month ever by the middle of last week. We’d also had our best day ever just days before. Our newest products had quickly become very well received. All was fantastic.

Then everything fell apart. Thursday we were only barely able to issue a handful of policies. Friday we couldn’t even do that. We’ve been adding so many things to the system lately it was hard to isolate what might have caused the problem and find the real solution. Attempting to do so involved a lot of system restarts. Sometimes quoting was possible, sometimes it wasn’t. Same for payments and policy status information. Endorsements and new business binding was pretty much out of the question.

Of course that caused a lot of phone calls that normally wouldn’t be needed, which caused much worse phone, email and chat service than we are usually able to provide.

To those of you who were affected – we’re very sorry. You were wonderfully patient and understanding and we appreciate that very much, but we still feel terrible that you ever had to go through that.

Now What?

  1. We found and fixed the root cause. It turns out the problem was directly related to the growth we’ve experienced. We became victims of our own success. Lesson: Test systems to be sure they can handle twice or three times the volume you’re at now. It’s great to have solid growth. It’s terrible to not meet the need when it arises.
  2. We “fessed up”. Be straightforward. People will either appreciate your candor and forgive your imperfections or not be the type to cut you any slack anyway. Fortunately we work with awesome agents very willing to do the former.
  3. Get something useful out of the experience. We have changes in place that will make quotes load faster and a checklist that should make troubleshooting easier moving forward. We also have a new understanding of how to more easily roll back product changes so we can confirm or eliminate those as the cause of any issues. Make sure you get some lemonade out of the lemons that come your way too.

What did we miss? What else do you think we could or should take away from this experience?

Are you an agent we don’t already work with? As you just read we’re not perfect. We definitely work hard to make things as easy as possible for our fantastic Texas Personal Property agents, though. If you’d like to become one, tell us a little about yourself.

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