Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Wanna hear something funny about my job?  Something that makes me chuckle inwardly and occasionally laugh out loud?
This big company where I work was concerned that maybe the customers weren't feeling the love--which, they're not, frankly, because we're an insurance company and pretty much nobody ever feels any love from an insurance company.  We want your money, and, we don't want to give any of it back.  Ever.  Normally, I applaud that type of attitude in business, because what the hell are we here for, if not to make lots of money?  I'm all about making the money, and don't mind being a little cut-throat about it.  If you're too slow, I'm going to eat your lunch--Hey, I hustle from the second I walk out of my house every morning, and I leave pretty damn early.  I have EARNED your lunch.  If you can't seem to get yourself up off the couch, you don't get to eat.
The thing about insurance companies that bugs me is that the entire industry promotes itself in such a way that we want you to believe that we are your friend.  That is the entire angle--we're here to help.  Security.  Support when you need it. 
It's mostly crap.  We're not really your friend.  We expect payment and we would prefer it if you never had to use the services you're paying for because that costs us money.  It's not personal.  It's just business.
Sometimes, like right now, when people are a bit freaked about money, what they are doing with their money and especially, what they are getting for their money, people wake up to the fact that, "hey, my insurance company doesn't seem very nice..." and they start to look around to see if maybe there is someone more suitable out there.  Perhaps someone who doesn't seem so wickedly heartless.
So what did my big company do?
Formed a committee.
....because nothing rocks it like a committee.
...a Committee of Customer Love.  Oh yes, we have one.  A means by which some members of management can stroke themselves a little, in their efforts to show people that they really, really care.  The 'team leaders' have signs on their office doors that say "Committee of Customer Love Team Leader", and everything.  Ironically (or not, depending on your attitude of these things) the 'team leaders' are the people so far removed from the customer that they couldn't possible formulate anything resembling consumer empathy.  THEY don't have to pay through the nose for health insurance.  THEY don't ever have to talk to our customer service department.  THEY make plenty of money and can afford to pay for expensive medical care out of pocket.
At least I can laugh about it, right?
It rather reminds me of No Child Left Behind.  Anybody remember that gem?  Where somebody had a brilliant idea (cough-cough) and declared it the law of the land and then provided NO means or resources with which to carry it out?  Yeah....that was a good one...
So far, the Committee of Customer Love has....sent out a bunch of emails to all of us, each talking about how freaking AWESOME they are!  Yay!
And they are happy to remind the rest of us the Customer Love is our duty, while remaining oblivious to the fact that most of their underlings have been operating on this principal for a long time.
It might be refreshing, instead of forming a Committee of Customer Love (and have loads of people be annoyed by the fake Give-A-Shit), to simply start a realistic ad campaign--something along the lines of "Health Insurance--Slightly Less Expensive Than Paying Your Doctor Directly", and let the chips fall where they may.  Some people still might buy it...

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