If Sickcare Inc. Were a Startup

If Sickcare, Inc. were a startup, it would get manhandled at the pitch fest. Nice work if you can get it.

The last time I called ADT about a home security problem, I was put on hold for 20 minutes, I was given advice that did not solve the problem, and I was scheduled for a service call in 10 days and "told" that I needed to be available between noon and 5 p.m. because they couldn't tell with any more accuracy when the technician would be available.

Time for a new vendor.

When I try to find one, my guess is I'll get a person on the phone when I push the button for "if you are a new customer." It reminds me of faculty salary compression at universities. The longer you stay, the less they value you, as evidenced by what they pay you relative to new hires.

In case you have been under a rock for the past 5 years, it's not just startups that have a lot of customer service problems. Customer service has become an oxymoronic result of machines, cost-cutting and, like most businesses, not being nice to your customers until you have to. Sick-care has the same problem.

Suppose it were a startup?

1. SIGNS THAT GIVE ORDERS TO CUSTOMERS

"We'll need your insurance information before we can treat you."

"We require payment at the time of service."

"The doctor is running late so you'll have to wait 45 minutes to be seen."

2. BUSINESS HOURS AS OPPOSED TO CUSTOMER HOURS

"We close at 4:30. If you need care, there is a CVS down the street that is open 24/7."

3. INCOMPETENT OR UNKNOWLEDGEABLE EMPLOYEES

"I'm sorry, but I'll need to transfer you to another line so they can help you. Here's the number in case you get cut off."

4. PAPERWORK AND BUREAUCRACY

"For an additional $10, we'll be happy to sell you a personalized clipboard so you can fill out all the forms with your own."

5. RULES AND INFLEXIBILITY

"Sorry, but that's above my pay grade."

"Let me put you in touch with my supervisor."

"We can't do that."

If Sickcare, Inc. were a startup, it would get manhandled at the pitch fest. Nice work if you can get it.