IT departments with poor customer service might not survive the recession.
Perhaps the most common topic at holiday parties in Houston this year was the ramifications of Hurricane Ike, which hit us pretty hard in early September. The conversation typically started on what I call Phase 1 of the hurricane--the damage it caused and the resulting cleanup and reconstruction.
Since many have successfully completed Phase 1, or are well on their way, the conversation would typically quickly move on to Phase 2--dealing with the insurance companies. I think it's fair to say the frustration and exasperation levels of dealing with insurance companies easily go beyond those of dealing with the hurricane itself.
Typically the conversation would go something like this:
"The insurance company is dragging its feet. I'm on the third (or fourth or fifth) adjuster. They keep asking for the same information, even though I've already given it to them. They don't return my calls and want to give me a lot less than they should. I don't understand why it has to be such a hassle."
A sharp IT guy would look at this and see a number of ways that process and system improvements could greatly improve the situation. Unfortunately, these suggestions wouldn't be welcomed by the insurance companies--it's to their competitive advantage to be inefficient and provide poor customer service.
The aim is for the claim filer to become so frustrated that he is willing to settle for less, just to complete the process and get some reimbursement--thus saving the insurance company money. And since all insurance companies have the same incentive and operate the same way, no one has to worry about their poor customer service driving their customers to the competition. It's just normal industry-accepted practice.
So how is this relevant to IT? Let's just change a few words to the story above: