Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sicilian dementia and customer care

It's been a couple of years since I've walked with my friend, B who is a retired nurse.  When I worked with B, I repeatedly told her that she was a the brains of the operation and I meant it.  B is a master's level nurse.  Beyond her medical knowledge, I frequently witnessed her compassionate care.  B is also "old school" Italian.  On this particular walk, we joked about aging and our perhaps declining memory when B identified an affliction she termed "Sicilian dementia". As B expressed to me her affliction with Sicilian dementia:

"I don't remember much these days, but I always remember a friend AND I never forget those who screwed me."

I think a symptom of of my OFS - old fart syndrome may be Sicilian dementia...

I have had recent highs and lows with customer service.  Among the lows, United Health Care (UHC) who remains on my shit list.  After numerous calls and speaking with numerous representatives and supervisors, I continue to receive numerous diverse explanations as to why they have not paid the hospital claims for a family member who was hospitalized in a "participating hospital" after a life threatening EKG reading.

In preparation of my written complaint against UHC, I contacted Time Warner Cable to obtain an Outbound Call Record.  In my contacts with Time Warner, I expressed my dissatisfaction with their "teaser incentives" for new customers, but failure to reward loyal customers.  Although I really like Time Warner's service (which is a primary reason for remaining with them for so long), I have been seriously considering other options due to the escalating cost.  I will note that I had voiced this complaint to them previously, but this time I hit pay dirt with C, a customer service rep.  Long story short, C listened to my issue and RESPONDED... I now have "turbo" Internet access - which they advertise as "twice as fast" as the service I had AND a DVR (still having fun learning this new toy) AND paying less than I was paying!  Yes, I understand that nothing lasts forever and that in another year or so I will probably need to re-contact Time Warner, but I am thrilled to have someone listen AND respond.

Similarly, I contacted the Health Services division of the New York State Attorney General's (AG) Office.  Wow, was I ever pleasantly surprised.  As I live and work near the AG's office, I called and asked if I could hand carry my UHC complaint to them.  They expressed that they were a very small unit and did not have this capacity, BUT after a very cordial conversation, M expressed that she would be happy to come downstairs and out to the street if I wanted to drop it off.  WOW!  I dropped if off Wednesday, by Friday of the same week (2 days later), C called me to tell me that they had received my complaint and were giving UHC 3 days to respond.  Later that day, C called a second time that she had spoken to a trusted contact at UHC and had learned that yes, UHC had received the medical records back in May (over a month ago) and that no one (even after I had spoken to numerous reps who expressed that they were sending the records for review) had reviewed these records.   DOUBLE WOW - UHC issues aside, let me express my gratitude and appreciation to the AG's office and to M and C specifically - Thank you.

I probably should have played the lottery this week.  Last Sunday, my daughter and I went to Dick's Sporting Goods in Crossgates Mall.   We went our separate ways to browse at our areas of interest and re-connected.  She had found a pair of sale sneakers that were in a clearance bin in the middle aisle with a big "25% off" sign prominently displayed.  They were priced about $40 so 25% was easy math - $10 off - $30... but not so fast...  We got to the register and they rang up $40+ - what gives?  Well I asked the cashier; he called someone and I was told that they had to end in $.97... yup, I walked back to the sign and buried under 2 layers of sneakers in small print that is what it said.  My normal method of operation would have been to have pitched a fit at the register and if the item was for me, it would have been a fast "no sale" but for my daughter... plus I was getting shaky from low sugar so I didn't throw my normal tantrum.  Later in the week, I get a "Please complete our survey about your shopping experience" email from Dick's... and another happy ending, I contacted the store, asked to speak to a manager and they listened AND responded.  Who knows, I might go back and buy that kayak yet.

Years ago, my wife went to the CapCom credit union to get some credit union promotion / discounted Great Escape tickets.  The CapCom rep explained that you couldn't pay by credit card, but that he could help her out with a work around.  This work around was a cash advance, so tickets that were supposed to cost about $50 ended up costing about $75 dollars.  My wife had never taken a cash advance in her life; didn't need to now and definitely didn't understand the implications of taking a cash advance.  I complained to both CapCom and to Chase, the credit card issuer.  CapCom made good - they're an All Star.  Chase never responded.  I stopped using my Chase credit card.  After several months of non-use, I sent Chase a second written message.  Once again no response.  I continued to not use my Chase credit card until they sent me a "teaser" offer - get $200 back after spending $1000 in 3 months... No problem, Chase - I spent the $1000 and I was happy to also accept your $200, but I've stopped using your cards again... yup, I think I may have a little Sicilian dementia!

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