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The Other Department
I am in transition between medical coverage options.

We are moving from one policy at an insurance company to another policy at the same company.

The new policy is not confirmed until it becomes active, and the (single) insurance company could not set everything up in-advance to make it all work.

I had to wait, then contact the insurance company again just as it happened, to remove one person at-a-time from the prior policy.

On the website, I cannot see my new policies, because one policy is not active for 23 days.

In the chat, I was informed that one person can remove people from the old policy, but they are blind to the new policy because "that is our other department".

I had to call "the other department" who confirmed that the first of the new policies was in-effect then I went back to the chat to remove that person from the old policy, and I learned I needed to provide proof of the new policy. I suggested that the person on the chat find someone at the same company and confirm that without my involvement.

It is helpful to organize companies into departments, divisions, and groups. The challenge is that customers should not need to understand your organizational chart in order to get work done.

Customers should not be made to suffer because of a lack of connecting tools inside the company.

I spent half a day moving money from one account at a bank to another because one account was "in another department". The bank had to send a wire to itself to make it work.

What large companies need to learn is that if customers need to have two logins, call two telephone numbers and be in two chat rooms, there is no advantage to keeping multiple accounts with the same organization.

Powerful brands create loyalty by taking care of customers, not by bouncing them around like pinballs in a machine.

It is the norm right now to focus internally on cost reduction and I am sure lots of VPs have received terrific bonus payments for niggling out 1% here and reducing staff 1.2% there. It is the norm to give customers chat (1/5th of someone's attention) instead of a full person. It is the norm to force customers to click around a website until they stumble on the link that is helpful. It is the norm to force people into AI Voice Bots to route calls and waste their time trying to work through a logic tree before being routed to a live human.

What is also the norm is for young companies to identify a niche in the market - something like placing customers first, and when they do, the lifeblood of a company will drain out of the "cost-reduced, bot and chat, learn our organization chart" companies faster than they can say "What happened?"

In a market-driven economy, it is possible to establish a reputation as a "We offer simple interactions, care about customers, and make things work" and this will sidestep the plausible deniability of cost-reduced companies.

Civility does not die, it is just wounded. The survivors will be civil, and they will recognize customers as assets, as opposed to attackers that need to be firewalled and discouraged.

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