Friday, July 13, 2012

Clearwater II - and Customer Service

Yesterday, I got a one-liner letter from Clearwater saying my ticket had been "taken care of administratively".  This was entirely unsatisfactory.  Where was my apology, not to mention some assurance that my credit had not been sullied?

So I called up the City of Clearwater.  It seems that my sheaf of registered letters has been received.  The manager of parking, a Ms. Stefanelli, came right to the phone and was actually delightful.  She apologized repeatedly, and said that she "would have been livid" had this happened to her.  She also said she was glad to be able to talk to me, but that the mayor would be writing to me in any case, and that "he is not happy" with the situation.  She assured me that they are following up with the Collections people as well, and will get proof in writing that there was no problem.  She invited me to visit Clearwater sometime, and apologized that the officer didn't know his state abbreviations "because he really needs to do that right".

Which is good.  Great, actually, but it makes me annoyed that you have to be so aggressive to get a reasonable response in this world.  It's a really bad counter-incentive for good public behavior!  And it's probably related to why some people just start ranting right away, before they even get an unsatisfactory reply.  They've been conditioned that way.  I think we see the results of that when unsuspecting teachers get a first contact from a parent who is already in rant-mode.

This morning, unrelated, I had to call my son's doctor's office because they had been remiss on faxing back a prescription to the mail-order pharmacy (required by our insurance, another rant for another time).  The level of gate-keeping and unprofessionalism raised my blood pressure at least ten points before I even had a chance to tell the nurse who handles these things, why I was calling.  The desk people kept assuring me that I must be wrong, and they couldn't do anything about re-faxing the prescription, and was I really sure about how to spell my name....

The office eventually fixed the main problem (the prescription), but what made me so mad is that no one had any interest in following up on the issue, or even transferring me to someone who could, until I lost my temper.  And then, all of a sudden, I got an articulate nurse-manager who fixed the whole damned thing.  While I was complaining to them, I had a chance to tell them that the gate-keeping is bad enough, but once I get to a person, I feel like the least I should get is someone who is polite and calls me "Ms. Gordon" instead of my first name (particularly if they introduce themselves as "Dr. X" or "Mr. X").

Ideally, the gate-keepers should also have some level of common sense, and find out what the question is before barking, "birth-date and social?".  One of these days, I'll tell them about some social plans I have instead of accepting "social" as a plebian abbreviation for "social security number" - which frankly, they shouldn't be asking for, anyway.  If I'm calling about my son, whose personal information will they need?  My husband's, because he's the main guy on the insurance?  My son, because he's the patient?  They seem satisfied only when they get mine, because it's in their script - but then they don't have access to anything that can answer the question.  I know there are competent unemployed people available out there in this economy.  Why these other yahoos still have their jobs, is beyond me.

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