Watch that fancy technology you use to manage communication with your clients. Now seriously!

Do you know what damage the fancy technology you are using in your business is doing to your clients?

If not, ask me! Today I spent a good half an hour and as much as R50 on phone calls trying to establish what exactly was happening with my account with a certain health services provider – all because of a silly SMS from them that I never should have received.
The SMS received at 11.24am read: “Please settle your Netcare911 account, 100… the amount of R4311 in full, on or before 31 May 2012 and take 20% discount.”
A clear pure marketing campaign! Wonderful.
But hold on. My first reaction was; what the heck? What account?
After a while it dawned on me that this reflected on an incident during which one of the family members had an accident some weeks ago and had to be transported some 350km to an advanced hospital for a scan.
Now, all other related medical fees had already been lodged with the medical aid services company and indeed, I had been informed as such while processes to settle these were underway – great service.
However, this particular service provider had until today, according to the medical aid services outfit, not lodged a claim.
Well, I only had that confirmed during this ordeal after being panicked by an SMS from same provider that I never should have received to start with.
On inquiry with the medical aid, I was told; “Nah, we ain’t received no payment claim from those people.” 
“Ok, so; do you have their telephone number so I can call them and find what the heck is going on?” I asked. The response (after a few minutes of searching their own systems) “Nah, can’t find them anywhere.” 
Whoooaaa! Big deal! A national service provider without contact my medical aid, a major international organisation? 
The call to the medical aid services company lasted just over 5 minutes, at noon rates. Dissatisfied and more incensed; I went online to search for the service provider (more time and bandwidth spend!) and finally found the 0860 number.
Having called, I finally got through to the accounts section where at first, the reference number I was given via the SMS did not make sense to the accounts person. More phone time spend.
Eventually, she comes alive, quite excited and explaining that my account had been sent to the medical aid and therefore I had “nothing to worry about.”
Really? I’d just got an SMS from them asking me to score 20% if I settle the account by whatever date, why? “Oh, just ignore it. It is something we send to all clients.”
“What? Ignore it? Why was I sent this, in the first place.” I asked, fuming. “Well, it is the system that generates message that get sent to clients. Everyone.”
Flippant “system”!!
I fired: “Sisi, please man, ain’t there no one there who realises this should NOT happen? I mean, I have an account currently in process and which must go to a third party for settlement, and here I get a “claim” for payment I should not be receiving at all!! You think this is OK, that I should be spending a good half ‘n hour and money phoning to establish what’s going just because someone is messing around with a system?”
Of course, unlike with account managers in certain banks I’ll spare a mention, for now; she surprised me. Throughout the period, she remained calm and focused. Not once did I get a hint of frustration, anger or amusement even by the event. No once. Love her for it.
Anyway, finally; exhausted and thoroughly, well – angry really; I asked the young lady to please escalate the issue to whoever is responsible for the “system” to please do a proper job but make sure they do not offend me again, unnecessarily I might add. 
And they’d better not!

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