Working for a consultant surgeon is fun.
However, since one particular private medical insurance company decided to outsource their help desk or their “advisors” late last year, there has been a marked reduction in their level of customer service from it. Thus is has not been so much fun. Considering the people calling them are either consultant surgeons or calling on behalf of a consultant surgeon, that is pretty bad. Indeed the average time on hold to this particular insurance company for example, is now well over 10 minutes. That’s pretty awful considering it used to be less than a minute.
At this precise point I’ve been on hold for 13 minutes!
What is ironic however is that now I have a choice of music to listen to. For example: would I like to listen to classical music, pop music, jazz or rock music? I decided on classical as it happens and am currently listening to Bach. I like Bach.
But it has got me thinking….
Isn’t being given the option of what to listen to missing the point entirely? This is an even worse option than being told my “call is important to us” and then the call being unanswered. Shouldn’t the aim be to answer the phone call rather than offering a choice of music to listen to?
Is it necessary?
All private consultant surgeons sooner or later will need to speak to an insurance company. Whether this is at the point they are attempting to gain recognition or to check a fee is correct is not relevant. Sooner or later – particularly if you are billing an insurance company – you have no choice but to speak to them. But the than that, is it absolutely necessary to call?
That is my favourite question to ask. The first port of call so to speak is always to consider if an action is necessary. In other words, what is causing that action to be necessary and can anything be done to prevent the necessity of the action? In the case of speaking to a medical insurance company, in theory, many of the calls should not be necessary. If an invoice is raised and submitted correctly for example then payment should – again in theory – just flow through. Reducing the necessity of speaking to an insurance company is always a good aim. It is the very reason I check remittance advices sent by an insurance company most carefully. They record many of the details as to why an invoice, for example, hasn’t been paid either in full or partially. For example: if a partial payment has been made the reason why will be detailed on the remittance advice.
Thus the number of calls required to a private medical insurance company will be reduced. Nonetheless, the fact remains there will ALWAYS be occasion to call an insurance company. It may be, for example, that the fee has been reduced and you don’t know why. The point is there may be genuine reasons why it IS necessary to speak to an insurance company.
Contrast this however with another insurance company I’ve spoken to this morning. I called them and was told I was on hold, was caller number 3 and the estimated hold time was 4 minutes. Fine; I can live with that. It is up to me whether I’m prepared to wait in line or call back.
Having formally complained to the medical insurance company in the first example that their customer service is not good four times so far in 2017, I did consider WHY they had outsourced? It would appear the reason is financial. It’s cheaper.
Cheaper isn’t always the best.
It was once said by an extremely wealthy man that price is what you pay and value is what you get. I agree whole heartedly. Cheaper isn’t always the best.
And time is money too. I’ve actually written this blog whilst being on hold and listening to Bach. So I’ve used the time to do other things too. What would happen however, if I was a private consultant surgeon with an already overworked medical secretary who had letters to type or worse still was on hold so patients couldn’t ring her? That would reflect badly on my practice.
I’m all in favour of outsourcing. I would say that though because my business is intrinsically the provider of an outsourced facility to private consultant surgeons.
Even so, I get seriously frustrated at being told either my call is important – well answer it then – or I’m offered a choice of music to listen to. I don’t actually want either to hear either.
I want my issue resolved quickly and efficiently.
Cheaper and slower shouldn’t be an option.