An American insurance company opens a café to explain finance
In Chicago, State Farm insurance company, one of the biggest in the USA, has opened a cafe called ‘Next Door’. Its goal? To reduce the insurance company’s bureaucratic image and push them closer to their customers. Open from 7am to 10pm, Next Door aims to be a comfortable place above all, where State Farm offers a range of services: free Wi-Fi, a library, meeting room, yoga classes... and of course finance classes that are accessible to everyone: from ‘How to manage your budget?’ to ‘How to organise your wedding at an affordable price?’ via ‘What type of student loan to subscribe to?’, there is something for everyone. They even work on customer satisfaction by allowing clients to suggest ideas for classes in the areas that particularly interest them.
These lessons, which are completely free, are taught in simple vocabulary, free from financial jargon. And it goes even further because State Farm has forbidden instructors from slipping in any reference to insurance products offered by the company: “The aim is not,” claims State Farm, “product placement but to offer a real, unbiased service for customers.”
“For lots of people, managing their money is still a very complicated subject. Finance is like a foreign language to them, and some words that I take for granted, like stable or fluctuating interest rates, are not clear to them. That’s why these lessons exist: to explain to clients in simple terms, all these things, because the basic notions of management of your money should be one of the foundations of common knowledge in my opinion,” explained one of the four finance coaches to the Chicago Tribune.
There are a lot of people who simply come to buy a coffee in a pleasant environment. That was also State Farm’s aim: to create a lively place, where human links would develop… which is where the name ‘Next Door’ comes from, literally a simple, friendly place to go. Two adjectives which State Farm would like to see together more often.