Finweek English Edition - - BUSINESS TRENDS - AN­DRÉ JANSE VAN VU­UREN an­drej@fin24.com

I’LL AL­WAYS CHOOSE the In­ter­net over call cen­tres.

The book­ing of air­line tick­ets is a good case in point. It’s much eas­ier to open three tabs on your browser to com­pare the cost of a trip with 1time, ku­l­ula.com or Mango than it would be to phone those ser­vice providers to en­quire about prices.

The lat­est South African in­dus­try giv­ing con­sumers an on­line op­tion is short­term in­surance. As I’m al­ways on the look­out for a cheaper in­surance quote, I clicked on an elec­tronic ad of Old Mu­tual’s iWYZE, which promised me a “quick quote” on­line. Un­for­tu­nately, iWYZE’s site has limited ca­pa­bil­ity to con­sider the var­i­ous vari­ables avail­able when de­ter­min­ing the cost of in­surance. I was even­tu­ally told its quote was only “il­lus­tra­tive” and it was quickly fol­lowed up by a call from the com­pany’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

That’s ex­actly what I didn’t want to hap­pen. What I wanted was a quick In­ter­net quote, not a con­ver­sa­tion with an over­bear­ing, con­de­scend­ing sales­man tak­ing up 20 min­utes of my time in the mid­dle of a work­day. And the quote sucked: more than 15% higher than what I pay my cur­rent ser­vice provider.

If iWYZE is will­ing to lis­ten, then this is my 10 cents worth of ad­vice: It’s great if you sell your prod­uct on­line but don’t let it seem like a cheap at­tempt at ob­tain­ing the per­sonal de­tails of con­sumers in or­der to pester them by phone later on.

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