Administrative Services on behalf of Product Providers

Providing services to clients for which you are not reimbursed has always been part of the job.

Back in the good old days, when most product providers paid more than lip service to the term “client care”, it was a pleasure working together to resolve issues, and both parties scored in terms of client retention.

There appears to have been a substantial shift in this regard in terms of responsibility. The advisor, being in the frontline, has little option but to assist clients where problems come to light when seeing a client. Very often, this is a new client, and any service rendered is more in the hope of getting new business, than doing what you are paid for.

In one instance, a broker had to spend a substantial amount of time and money, not to mention his experience and knowledge, to resolve an issue with a client’s life cover. The original advisor who sold the policy had long before departed the scene, and our intrepid advisor finally managed to get the problem sorted out. He raised the issue of reimbursement with the life office, who declined, based on “management guidelines”. The fact of the matter is, of course, that commission was still being debited to the client’s account, but then paid back to the company as there is no servicing broker.

Given the high turnover of advisors in the industry, imagine how many millions are made in this manner by effectively charging for services not being rendered, and then refusing to at least reimburse those who do perform those. The only other option is to ask the client to pay, but this would mean a double whammy for the client!

Here is a true story which just proves how you can use knowledge of what you may regard as a stupid law in your favour. Tony Calitz in Durban shared this with me this week.

I completed & submitted my PAIA docs before the first deadline was set (before they extended it) a few years ago. Nowadays, if a company loses any docs I email to them, and try to take the easy route by requesting copies from me, I do the following:

I remind them that I have registered with PAIA and that I will re-send the documents if they deposit their initial R50 into my bank account and agree to pay an additional sum for my time and use of resources in accordance with the PAIA rules. They ALWAYS decline, search for and find the documents themselves!

AND – I ALWAYS respond that they are too lazy to get off their a#$%@s to do their own work, and that the days of abusing the intermediaries are GONE!

It helps to keep the email Receipts and one tip I will freely give to anyone – when sending more than one document via email ALWAYS use a ZIP facility. Almost every time that I have encountered these problems it’s been when ONE document is missing & they claim I never sent it, even though it was part of a group of docs contained in ONE ZIP file. It has been very easy to combat their claims because they cannot explain how a file managed to disappear from a ZIPPED file. AND – as these companies do – they don’t destroy/delete the original, so it’s actually just a process of searching for it, but the admin staff are so used to taking the easy route & requesting duplicates.

CHARGE them for the additional work, I say!

Sê hulle, Boet!

And, as they say in advert: But wait! That’s not all!

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