If Noah could talk, I would coach him to say:
“I'm not my DOB. I'm not my MRN. I'm not my SS#. And just in case you were wondering, I'm not my insurance number. I am a patient, yet that’s not my name either. I am a customer and even a client, but neither of those are my name. I'm a person; a person with a name. My name is Noah. My name is attached to every single item listed above, yet you refuse to recognize or acknowledge me by my name. Why is that? I understand that this is your job and you have a job to do. I understand that in order to access my records, notes or pertinent information you need my DOB, MRN or insurance number. But here's what I need you to understand I'm a PERSON, not a piece of paper nor a number attached to a piece of paper. My life depends on you doing your job. I understand that you go to work to get a check. I understand that you may not value my life or the quality of it and that's okay. What's not okay is for you to hinder or withhold things that my very existence depends on. I don't need you to be vested in my future or even care what I make of my life. What I do need you to do is stop looking at me as a number or the next piece of paper. Shuffling me from person to person and constantly passing the buck. I need, my mom will require, you to recognize that you're working with a person, and my name is Noah.”
Unfortunately, I have to have these conversations way more than I should with insurance providers, businesses, and agencies that provide Noah with his necessary supplies. This particular conversation dealt with communication, or lack thereof, regarding feeding supplies. It’s infuriating, disheartening and mentally exhausting to constantly deal with people who don’t understand the severity and impact of their role on the families they are there to serve. My takeaways from these sorts of interactions:
- Keep a record of interactions with the various agencies/businesses. Include date, name of person speaking with, call back number, time of day and summary of conversation with any AI-action items to follow-up on.
- Ask questions and then ask more questions! I will usually say “help me understand how this process works.” Asking this way keeps me focused, without accusing anyone of wrongdoing, I get a timeline for processing the order and it truly lets me know what all is involved when I place his order.
- If the customer service representative can’t help, ALWAYS ask for a manager or supervisor. I don’t like repeating myself. If I’ve called previously and the issue still hasn’t been resolved when I call back I’m not going to waste my time talking to someone who doesn’t have the ability/authority to adequately fix the issue.
- Follow up as necessary. Some people forget what they say and commit to, i.e. calling back on a certain day to give an update. It’ll be more work on your part but it’s well worth it!
- Apologize and thank.I will apologize if my tone was sharp and I was being short when reaching a solution that isn’t easy and takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R! I’m never rude, yet I know how to be assertive. Thank the representative for taking the time to let you vent and for assisting you in resolving said issue.
Glossary: DOB = Date of Birth MRN = Medical Record Number SS# = Social Security Number