I spoke with my mortgage company yesterday.


As usual, they tried to sell me insurance. They are always trying to sell me insurance. Sometimes, the tactics they use border on unethical. Sometimes they cross the border.


This time, the GreenTree “rep” was poorly trained and lousy with people. She started by telling me that GreeTree had reviewed my insurance and found it lacking. GreenTree requires me to provide proof of insurance because they hold my mortgage. Ok, that’s understandable. But I resent their “review” of the information I am forced to provide for use in a sales pitch.


The rep, who had already been somewhat nasty—“business name?” Teach and the letter U, as in Teach U. “T-E-E-C-H?” No, T-E-A-C-H as in instruct. “What?”  Teach, like teachers do. “What’s the last name?” There is no last name, it’s a business name. “There has to be a last name on the account” … After 15 minutes of this I wanted to scream at the idiot at the other end of the phone. I’ve been through this before with GreenTree. This company SHOULD either outsource their phone support to India or provide their customer service department with hearing aides.


Last year, when my insurance was due for renewal, GreenTree wanted me to fax them proof that I had, in fact, renewed. My agent did that. GreenTree claimed they never received the fax and put their insurance into effect—charging my mortgage with the added premium. Apparently, GreenTree hires the blind as well the hearing impaired. I applaud their support of the handicapped but wish they’d train them better.


Next, the “rep” tells me their “review” has concluded that I am lacking hurricane insurance and that GreenTree insurance would include hurricane insurance. She told me I needed hurricane insurance because of my location on the west coast.


“There has never been a hurricane on the west coast and I am 200 miles inland protected by a substantial mountain range”, I told her. “Never say never” she replied. “It’s people that say “never” that get into trouble”, she clucked.


I clicked. I couldn’t take another second of that woman. I just hung up.


There’s a lot of money to be made selling insurance. Too bad GreenTree’s entire training on the subject is probably, “we’ll give you $500 for every policy you sell”.


I doubt the “rep” was licensed to sell insurance in California. But that’s a topic for another day.


If you want your people to turn customer service calls into sales, train them properly. You can hire me to do it.


Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog