What was inexplicable was that the payments had, for the last three months, been routed from the old account to my new account. The Anthem rep couldn't explain how this had happened, who had been doing it, or why they stopped doing it. And getting the payment moved to my new account was obviously not easy to do because the rep had to hunt down someone on the operations side to get it done.
So, what can we learn from this? The take away is that you must identify all of your process end points and exceptions and make sure that procedures exist to resolve the exceptions.
In my case an exception should have been raised by a payment being applied to a closed account. Only in a different reality where systems engineering is merely a nice idea -- which is apparently how the IT department at Anthem Blue Cross thinks -- could this happen without generating an exception. Do as Anthem did and you're going to have angry customers who will, like me ... and I'm not kidding ... have wasted over five hours sorting out what should never have been a problem in the first place!
And there's one other take away: Brand managers and other marketing wonks should occasionally listen to their customer service lines to make sure that when they are pissing off their customers royally by running them around for hours, they aren't adding insult to injury through having lousy, distorted music on hold.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.