The Customer Service Survey

Pro Tip: Actually Listen to your Call Recordings Before Responding to a Complaint

by Peter Leppik on Mon, 2014-05-19 17:47

Most companies of any size routinely record calls to customer service, and in some industries it's a legal requirement.

So when a customer complaints that customer service told him one thing but the company did another, it might be a good idea to actually listen to the recording and find out what the customer was actually told.

Otherwise you might wind up like Anthem Blue Cross, featured (in a bad way) in the LA Times. You might also wind up featured in a lawsuit.

The story is that an Anthem member needed a fairly expensive medical proceedure. Like a good and careful consumer, he called Anthem to make sure his doctor was in-network and the proceedure would be covered.

Upon getting a "yes" on both counts, he went ahead and got the treatment.

Experienced readers will know what happens next, because we've seen this movie before: After the treatment, Anthem denied the claim saying the doctor was out of network.

But this time there's a plot twist, since the patient had recorded his earlier call to Anthem. You know, the one where customer service assured him the doctor was in-network and the proceedure was covered. He appealed Anthem's decision and included a recording of the call with the appeal.

Incredibly, Anthem denied the appeal, claiming the member had never been told the doctor was in-network or the operation would be covered--points directly contradicted by the member's recording of the call.

This is about the point where the LA Times (and the lawsuit) come in. I assume that this will now be settled promptly in the patient's favor, since even faceless bureaucracies have their limits.

There are two morals to this story: For companies, do your homework and use the tools at your disposal. It can avoid an expensive and embarassing stuation.

For consumers, it's a really good idea to record calls to companies you do business with. After all, they're recording you, you should feel no hesitation to record them.

Sorry...This form is closed to new submissions.