Anti-Customer Service

I just had an experience with “customer service” that I had to share. This was not on-line, but is a great example of just about everything you don’t want to do when communicating with your customers and employees.

Through my husband’s employer, we have participated in the health care flex fund for years. Apparently, this year, there was a change in provider.

That leads me to communication mistake one: don’t forget to talk to your employees. My husband is a pretty sharp guy and knows that this is the kind of thing I would expect him to share with me. I am going to assume that his company communicated about the provider change though some means. Whatever they did, completely missed my spouse.

So I submitted a claim for $200+ in health care expenses to the former provider, Ceridian. A few weeks later, I got a letter stating that they had received and processed my claim, but that it was denied because they no longer have a contract with my husband’s employer. I bet you are already guessing that the receipts I submitted where not included.

Now I am at communication mistake number two: Providing customer service that is not helpful to the customer and does not provide service. I called Ceridian to ask about getting my receipts returned so I can submit them the new provider. Well, it seems that they open letters, scan receipts into their database and destroy the originals “for my protection.” When I suggested that they should check to verify that they serve the customer before destroying the documentation, the rep literally spoke over me to state that it was my fault if I did not make copies before submitting the claim to them.

Then, to just make it all that much more service-friendly, she asked my favorite question, “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Why do companies think it makes sense to have their reps ask that question just after they have told a customer that they can’t help with the question the customer actually called about?

So, please don’t forget to tell your employees about changes that affect them. Tell them more than once, and tell them in a way that focuses on what this means for them (and their paperwork processing wives.)

If you are a company that offers customer service, never let it be okay to tell customers that is their problem if your business practices negatively affect them. And, please, please, never have your reps follow a script that makes no sense to someone who has actually called you in hopes of getting something resolved.

Thanks. I feel much better now!