Continuing on this week’s posts about the rotten attitude of insurance brands towards the people who pay their salary – their customers – here’s how NIB lets any telephone sales clerk access your children’s personal medical records.
I’m an NIB customer – well my whole family is covered under some family policy. Each year they increase the cost and reduce the service. They advise this using weasel words and deceit, as I’ve shared before.
Recently my 13 year old daughter went on a holiday with friends to the UK/Europe. Yes I know what you’re thinking dear reader, I went camping two hours up the coast at her age. The highlight being catching prawns with my father in the full moon run at midnight, at The Entrance – but I digress.
We obviously needed to get travel insurance. NIB offer discounts to customers, so my bride rang them.
The sales clerk started asking a few questions and when my bride got to the part about ski cover, the clerk opened my daughter’s medical records and poured through them – all without permission of course – unless it was covered in some double-speak in the recorded message at the start of the phone call?
How can a sales clerk have the right to inspect children’s personal medical records? What a BIG DATA abuse.
She noted my daughter had injured her leg a couple of years ago. And she was right. My daughter broke her ankle. But she was treated professionally in hospitals, by surgeons, nurses, specialists, physios and the like. In fact NIB paid the physiotherapy bills we received for treatment of the injury.
The sales clerk claimed this old fully-healed injury qualified as a pre-existing condition, so the policy would cost an additional $90.
My bride explained the injury had healed. My daughter has since gone skiing, plays hockey, basketball and runs cross country. But none of that mattered, because this clerk has now labelled it a pre-existing condition.
If you believe that ridiculous notion, then there isn’t an NIB customer who hasn’t a pre-existing condition. In fact, nobody on the planet could be insured as we all have pre-existing conditions.
I broke a toe when I was 7 years old. Does that mean I cannot get travel insurance? Imagine if I was to trip over while in a foreign country – it could be linked to my pre-existing condition? I could get an injury in the snow on a trip to Queenstown – it could be related to me getting hit by a snow ball in 1978, an obvious pre-existing condition.
One has to ask NIB – do you trust the medicos to heal patient’s injuries? After all, they study for years at university to become doctors. And you pay the gap in the medical bills to your customers, so you must have some confidence in their ability to heal wounds and injuries?
Or NIB, do you believe the medicos can’t do what they’re trained to do and fix injuries? Do you believe they are incompetent and just pay their bills because, well, that’s the system?
Either way, allowing sales clerks to access a child’s personal medical history, so you can screw them out of a few bucks on a travel insurance policy, is a low grubby act at best. You need to respect people’s (particularly children’s) privacy and stop fabricating lies to make money out of non-existing conditions.
How do you people sleep at night? Maybe you could bottle it and give it to people who struggle with pre-existing insomnia?
Some of you may know NIB loves its marketing jargon (and reality TV too) – it even has its very own hashtag #itsgoodtobehuman. As against #itsgoodtobealien? Or #itsgoodtobemammal?
If they really want people to believe their marketing speak, they should change it to #itsbadtobeaNIBcustomer. I’m sure the whole population – those people with pre-existing conditions – would believe them.
The only good thing to come from this was getting a cheaper policy from another insurer. They didn’t consider falling over as a kid to be a pre-existing condition to living a healthy life.
In haste two years ago I had to buy insurance for a car I bought second hand. I did a quick search online and ended up with Youi after they sharpened their pencil. They tried to increase the premium after twelve months, despite having no contact with me in the first year of the policy, so I challenged them and avoided an increase.
In the first week of December just over two months ago, my car was damaged by an anonymous driver. Well I know who did it – it was a truck driver doing work for the NSW Roads & Maritime Department. I parked my car across the road and that afternoon all these trucks parked opposite it, in preparation for night work on our road.
When I went to drive it the next morning the roof rack, top of the rear hatch and rear door were smashed – the damage was at the same height as the rear trays on those same trucks carrying the road working machines the night before. No apology note, just smashed car bits on the road. My taxes at work.
So I ring Youi and explain the problem. They direct me to a smash repairer to get an assessment on the damage. I left the car with the repairer and he rang me later that day to tell me the claim had been approved, but as it was three weeks before Christmas they didn’t want to do the job. Too close to their holidays – bugger mine. I’d have to bring the car back on the 12th January!
This meant I couldn’t use the car for the holiday period, as one tail light was smashed. Hours after the smash repairer visit, I received an automated text message from Youi telling me the claim was approved and to take my car to the smash repairer. Gotta luv technology.
Then I get an automated text from my “dedicated claims advisor” who processed the claim, saying I could contact her with any questions relating to the claim. So I did. I asked her if my policy had a rental car in it, as I couldn’t find a copy – it had been emailed not mailed. I didn’t get a response. I sent another message asking for an alternate repairer – and you guessed it, no response.
Frustrated, I ring Youi and ask someone if they can help me. They tell me there wasn’t a rental car in the policy, so at least I knew the situation.
Then I get an email with the following subject line:
Awesome service from Youi – Client Survey For Claim Number…
It was sent from the passionate Youi Team. As you readers know, any marketer worth their salt, never sends an email from a team. I’ve written about this before – teams don’t send emails, individuals do.
The survey is dysfunctional:
We’re passionate about providing you with awesome service which sets us apart from other companies.
You recently had a claim and we’d like to know how you felt about your service experience with us.
Click on the word that best describes the level of service you received from Josephine Marvelous. (I replaced the advisor’s real name)
- Very bad
I couldn’t answer the survey. The telephone service to get the claim approved was good. Josephine did the job she is paid to do. Though I’ve never really considered a claims clerk noting answers to questions, was something to regard as “awesome” – but hey, I speak English, not Marketing, in my daily life?
The problem with the survey of course is my overall claims experience has been an awesome horror – yet I cannot explain this within the survey, without implying Josephine did a bad job. Who designs this stuff? Do they live in the real world?
Another automated technology fail
So I replied to the team with a long email message about the fact they couldn’t get my car repaired until the new year and asking for help. Not one of the passionate team members has had the courtesy to reply. Another win for automated marketing technology. The computer can send me a survey from the Youi Team asking about “awesome Youi” but the poor old sod who pays the team’s salary cannot send one back to them.
I have no idea if my message made it – the address was firstname.lastname@example.org and I didn’t get a bounce notice.
The new year is rung in and on the 12th January I deliver my car to the smash repairer. Seemed to be a bit of a family business, given the bloke I spoke with referred to his missus not being in the office yet. He used a highly sophisticated CRM system “Just write your name and mobile on that pad and we’ll call you when it’s ready” he said. So I wrote my details on the scrap of paper and tore it off, leaving it on the bench.
He said the job will take about two weeks. In the meantime I finally get an automated email from Youi. Is the awesome team alive and acknowledging me? No. The email has nothing to do with my claim. In December my credit card expired, so I had to endure the horrors of trying to update the card on non-user-friendly websites. They never make it easy do they?
One of the monthly automatic payments was to YOUI. And now they wanted to talk with me because my payment had not been cleared due to the expired card – nothing to do with my claim. They chased my money, but gave no service for the payment.
Three weeks after dropping the car off I’ve heard nothing – from Youi or the smash repairer – so I ring the repairer. “Sorry mate, the parts have to be imported and take 3 weeks, so it won’t be ready until next month“.
“Why didn’t you order them in the first week of December, so they would be ready when I returned in January I asked?” Silence on the other end of the phone.
It’s now been more than 2 months and I still don’t have my car. I’ve sent Youi texts, emails and phone calls in response to their awesome marketing automation messages – and I’ve had nothing in reply.
Their brand is being built by a non-thinking smash repairer and an automated marketing machine – it’s no wonder my opinion of Youi is a tad less than awesome.
Even worse, their ads with the smarmy presenter keep interrupting my television viewing. My kids, who I consider very good judges of ads, as they are not tainted by too many life experiences, have always found the Youi presenter “creepy” and “a bit sketchy” – to use their words.
And the Youi tag line is “we get you“. Well they certainly got me – they got me well and truly p***d off.
Of course for my troubles I’ll have to pay an “excess”. Is it just me or does that term irritate the hell out of you too? It’s just an artificial gouge to save insurers money. I already pay an excess, it’s called the premium. That’s why I buy insurance, to insure against an accident – why should I pay an excess, when the insurance company took the punt and gave the odds?
Regardless, Youi needs to add a layer of human customer service between their awesome marketing automation and their customers. And they need to stop worshiping at the alter of marketing mediocrity and start communicating like humans, not like marketers who naively believe their own media releases speak the truth.
Though I am looking forward to cancelling my Youi policy – I’m sure on that day I’ll feel really really “awesome”…
There are three types of people in the world:
- Those who trust TripAdvisor
- Those who don’t trust TripAdvisor
- Those who’ve never heard of TripAdvisor
I fall into the middle camp. Having had numerous 5 star hotels as clients, I know the huge effort most make to post fake reviews for their properties around the world. It’s a full-time position in most major hotels. So I don’t trust TripAdvisor at all.
And like many of you dear readers, I travel a bit with my work. Recently I’ve been visiting Brisbane on a regular basis, or Brisvegas if you’re local.
Following a review I read in a newspaper about how Brisbane was cooler than its southern city counterparts, I decided to give the TRYP Hotel a go – its theme is art and its corridors and rooms are alive with bright orange, neon blue lighting and other artistic assaults on the senses.
The Queen room was the smallest I’d stayed in since last staying at Morton’s in NY, where the door bashed against the bed when opened.
There were no instructions on the use of the room, as I’ll explain now. On my first morning, I arose very early to work in the room and made a cup of tea. There were no mugs, just glasses, but nothing to say they were thermal glasses and could withstand boiling water. So I rang reception to confirm they were appropriate for tea making – turns out they were.
Interestingly, any student of hospitality knows research has shown hot drinks like coffee, tea or hot chocolate are perceived to taste better drunk from mugs than glass, but maybe they don’t teach that anymore?
There was an iron, but no ironing board and I needed to tidy a shirt quickly before my meeting. I searched vainly for the board, but eventually ran out of time to call housekeeping, so dressed a tad wrinkly.
That evening when I returned to the room, I found the bed made, but the rubbish from the previous day was still on the counter. And the coffee maker I had moved to the floor to make way for the jug to boil water, was still on the floor.
Worse still was the dust – and I don’t mean tiny skerricks of particles floating around the atmosphere. No, I’m talking a layer so thick you could draw in it. Maybe that was the “art” part of the hotel?
Here’s the dust on the safe – you could almost plant vegetables:
And here’s my hand print in the space for hanging clothes:
And here’s the designer dust outline around the glasses.
And the leftover kettle/coffeemaker mess:
I started to wonder how clean the sheets were? Do they change them for each new guest, or just keep making the bed and rotate the linen once a week?
It reminded me of the time I stayed in the Miller’s Hotel in Westbourne Grove in the UK, when working with my friend Drayton Bird. It was a combination hotel/antique store – very musty and classic furnishings, even a four poster bed.
When I packed to leave after five days, I looked under the bed to check I hadn’t left anything. Sitting in the thick layer of dust (it was almost dirt) was a pair of boxer shorts and a bra. Suffice to say I felt like having another shower.
So I took the photos above and showed them to the life-support-system-for-tattoos at reception. And as you seasoned travelers know – what happened next was the test of how good the service really was at this TripAdvisor award-winner.
And you guessed it – she said she’d tell housekeeping and thanks for pointing it out. Dumbfounded I asked if I was supposed to call housekeeping to get an ironing board, as I couldn’t find one in the room. She told me the board was hidden under my bed to save space – of course there were no instructions in the room to advise I would have to lie on the floor and grapple said board from under the bed, if I wanted a tidy shirt.
My lifetime value for accommodation in Brisbane isn’t huge, but am sure they’d like the business. It’s about $10,000 until the end of this year. At least you can save yourself the hassle deciding where to stay when going to Brisbane, because you heard it here first, rather than on TripAdvisor.
Here we go again folks – the longest hour of the year is upon us. Some say this hour lasts 6 months given all the media hype, but for those who just watch NFL once a year, it fills most of a day.
This is the time when the single largest flush of the US toilet system occurs. It’s the same time every year – the first 2 minutes of half time in the Superbowl. It occurs because millions of television viewers rush to the loo to drain the gallons of Budweiser, Miller, Sam Adams, Coors, etc they have been chugging down during the previous 3 hours of the first half.
It also happens to be the most expensive television advertising time slot on the planet, which means an awful lot of marketing money gets flushed down the sewer, as viewers relieve themselves rather than watch the ads.
To ensure people do cross their legs and watch in discomfort, the advertising break has become an event in itself, with leaks (excuse the pun) weeks before the ads are shown on the TV. Advertisers spend a fortune in PR to get people to watch their ads. You can read here the list of brands advertising this year.
Most interesting though, is the annual churn rate of advertisers from the previous year. Only about one third of advertisers return each year to advertise, as the majority of advertisers don’t believe they get value for money. Yet there are those who return every year, because it seems to work for them.
Interestingly too, is how this is always ignored by the advertising trade press, as they fall in love with the publicity and help fuel the promotion of the ads, rather than the performance of the ads. Though I’m sure we’ll hear about brands who establish Social Media Mission Control Rooms – or SMMCR for short.
These highly expensive executive teams spend their Sunday based in a SMMCR responding to Tweets, trying to create publicity around the fact they spend their Sunday in a SMMCR responding to Tweets. That’s a career highlight you’d want to share with your grandkids, hey? Though I suspect, as I’ve shared before, this will be the best use of much of their efforts:
I have written about the super flush in previous years. And I even put the theory to test with the Sydney Water Board during the Grand Final of the Rugby League, between Canberra and Penrith, in 1991. Sure enough, the single biggest sewerage flow of the year occurred in the first couple of minutes of half time.
Though I suppose one benefit of mobile devices is the ability to stream coverage onto them. So maybe the fans will be able to multi-task and watch the ads while they perform their ablutions? Though given the inebriated state of some of the fans, I dread what will happen to their phones…
I wonder if you can insure for it?
Some of you may have seen this subject line recently. It’s a Newsflash so it must be important:
It’s from Marketo and it’s close to being the most insulting subject line ever written about marketers. Either that or it reveals the Marketo team is comprised of fools.
Hands-up all of you who thought email was dead or gravely ill for that matter? Who among you no longer uses email to communicate with customers, because you thought email was dead?
Were you as relieved as I was to discover from Marketo that “email is not dead“? I suspect very few of you even believed the headline. It’s the equivalent of saying “the atmosphere still exists around planet Earth“. Of course it does and of course email is not dead – what fool would make such a claim?
Here’s the supporting paragraph:
Marketers are spoilt for choice when it comes to digital marketing channels. Programmatic, social, mobile apps… the list goes on. Despite all the latest and greatest, tried-and-tested tactics still have their place in any marketing strategy this year: when it comes to true audience engagement, email is still king.
It’s true, marketers are spoiled for choice – and tried and tested tactics still have their place in any marketing strategy. And when it comes to true audience engagement (whatever that even means) nothing beats face-to-face selling, telephone, direct mail and then of course email – the science proved it years ago. So while email may not be king, it’s certainly close in the pecking order beneath the throne.
Curiously Marketo is addicted to email – it’s the primary way they communicate directly with subscribers. They certainly don’t call their subscribers on the phone – despite the obvious profits in doing so.
So let’s consider why they published such a headline.
Option 1 – They believe all marketers are idiots and stopped using email for marketing purposes. As you and I know dear reader, marketers have never stopped inundating inboxes with marketing messages and won’t stop any time soon, so it can’t be this option.
Option 2 – The Marketo team members are stupid, as they thought email was dead and they stopped using it for their marketing purposes, when every other brand in the world continued to use it. I don’t think they are stupid and they certainly haven’t stopped using email if my inbox is anything to go by, so it can’t be this option.
Option 3 – Maybe a junior with no experience wrote the headline? As you can tell, I’m grasping for explanations. There is no sensible reason for making such a nebulous claim – unless the Marketo marketing team is just plain lazy and decided to be sensationalist to sell their webinar? I’m leaning toward this option.
The problem with using a sensationalist headline, is it must be believable if it is to work – like the headline in this blog. And given most marketers, including Marketo’s team, don’t believe email is dead, this headline makes no sense whatsoever and insults even the most mediocre marketer.
If you are interested in catching up on the latest in email marketing then you may want to join the webinar. Dave Chaffey is well worth listening too – he’s a very smart marketer. Though I suggest he would have written a different headline. Here’s the link to the event – so my good friends at Marketo get a free plug:)
But the headline does reveal the number one truth of content marketing – any fool can type crap and sadly many fools do…