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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 08 July 2007

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Friendly formality and a smile as you dial please, say customers

WE may not expect a hat to be raised, but a polite 'good morning' and a smile in the voice is how most of us like to be addressed by the businesses we contact, according to new research. 

69% prefer a more formal greeting such as Good Morning. 22% liked 'hello'. But the more casual 'hi!' was almost beyond the pale, with fewer than 1 in 10 preferring that.

The survey was conducted by Standard Life Healthcare, which has been voted 'Best Customer Service Provider' at the annual Health Insurance Awards for 6 years running.  The study also revealed that:-

* 53% prefer to be called by their title and surname - women (59%) more than men (47%).

* Only 36% like to be called by their first name, although the younger the person the more acceptable it is. 53% of 16-24 year olds and 43% of 25-34 year olds like it. People aged over 35 much prefer title and surname compared to any other age group.

* We like people to smile as they dial! 68% can tell if you are smiling when they talk to you on the phone. Younger people (16-34) are most intuitive as 77% of them can tell.

* More than half of people under the age of 35 would like to be able to text enquiries to suppliers and receive replies by text. (58% of 16-24 age group, 50% of 25-34 year olds)

'Customer care is part of what sets us apart,' said spokesman Mandy Blanks. 'We regularly ask our customers what they want, so that we can continue to improve our service to them - not simply in terms of our private medical insurance products, but also the important little things, like speaking to them in the way they like to be spoken to!'

Standard Life Healthcare is also well known for its annual Attitudes to Healthcare survey, which is an in-depth study into customer attitudes to healthcare issues at home and in the workplace and receives widespread publicity.

The last one was published in November 2006 and is available at standardlifehealthcare.co.uk.

AGE CONCERN LIVERPOOL OFFERS LOCAL PEOPLE PEACE OF MIND

AGE Concern Liverpool is holding a Funeral Planning Day at its office at 5 Sir Thomas Street, Liverpool, L1 6BW on Monday 16 July from 10am to help local customers to think ahead and pre-plan their funeral.  According to a recent research finding, nine out of ten people in Britain have not made any arrangements for their funeral1. Age Concern recognises that many people want to put their affairs in order but just need a little help to gain that peace of mind.

The average cost of a funeral in 2006 was £2,217 and it is predicted to rise to £3,350 by 2012. The Age Concern Funeral Plan fully covers the funeral director’s costs included in a plan at today’s prices, ensuring that loved ones won’t have to pay a penny towards those costs. If you had taken out Age Concern’s most popular funeral plan 10 years ago, you would have saved £810 by now.

Throughout the Funeral Planning Day, representatives from Morecrofts Solicitors will be available to offer legal advice to the local people regarding wills and power of attorney.

Phil Hughes, Business Development Manager for Age Concern Liverpool, said:- “Planning a funeral in advance, with Age Concern Funeral Plans, means that the family is spared the stress of organising it whilst they’re grieving and it means that the deceased can have the funeral they wanted - favourite hymns, preferred flowers and the route for the cortege, are all a very personal choice. Knowing that their loved one has had the funeral they desired often brings comfort to relatives. It also makes good financial sense to pre-plan, especially as funeral costs have been rising over the last few years with the trend seeming set to continue. During the Funeral Planning Day, we will be offering locals the opportunity to put their affairs in order in a friendly supportive environment.”

The Age Concern Funeral Plan, now in its 10th year, is designed to appeal to all with no age restrictions, no medicals required and guaranteed acceptance.

Age Concern offers 3 Funeral Plans offering a choice of arrangements and individual requests.

Age Concern’s Funeral Plan provides flexible plans and payment methods to suit different requirements and is provided in collaboration with Dignity Caring Funeral Services.

For further information about Age Concern Liverpool’s Funeral Planning Day please contact Age Concern Liverpool on 0151 330 5555, or come and visit us at 5 Sir Thomas street, Liverpool.

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