Thursday, March 18, 2010

2.516667

Over the course of five days recently, Minimed Customer Service has been a regular part of my life.

151 minutes of my life, to be exact. Little more than 2.5 hours. Can't say how much of this was On Hold Time, but I'd venture to guess most of it. As a result, I've become very accustomed to the company's On Hold Tunes, to the point of knowing how the system often quips in with an automated message affirming how important you are as a customer and that someone will be "right with you."

Through all of this Holding different tunes play in the background. An instrumental of Solitary Man may be streaming through my phone speaker, but that's not what I hear: Nope. To me, it's the Jeopardy theme music, taunting me as my fingers quicken their table-tapping pace. As the frustration grows, Eye of the Tiger begins playing in my head as I feel a Rocky Balboa-like adrenaline surge. Blood starts boiling and I'm ready to start tossing punches at the Unknown Minimed Rep Who's Yet To Answer The Phone. Yo, Adrian!

Luckily, I have speaker phone and the ability to multi-task while waiting for a live person, who may or may not be able to answer my questions and provide some type of "excellent service" so promised for whatever my concerns are at that particular time. Never before have I had Customer Service issues with Minimed, those echoed by so many in the Diabetes Community. But, it appears the inefficiency finally found its way to my little D-Corner Booth.
For these 2+ hours, I was in search of help on three overlapping issues relating to my Paradigm 722 or the necessary supplies.

1. A battery issue is the first problem. My pump (affectionately named Scarface, for the reason that it has a scratch across its face) is eating the battery life much too quickly. Say, within a day or so in some cases. It's not the battery type. It's not a question of my backlight or remote or meter linking. I've been pumping for 9 years, 7 of those with Minimed. I know when something isn't working properly. We tried a new battery cap, and when that didn't work, Minimed agreed to replace the pump. This took up about 30 minutes.

2. New pump received. However, I want to download the data from Scarface before sending back and starting use of the New Pump, which is tentatively named Bacon Gibbs. That means using the MM Carelink Program, which requires a special USB. The one I have doesn't work - so trying to resolve this meant devoting more than 36 minutes of my time on this topic one day. The Customer Service Rep. seemed fairly clueless, and after more than a half hour informed me she couldn't help me outside the basics that I'd already tried before even calling. As it turned out, my call was on a Saturday evening - which falls outside the PC Software Dept's hours (M-F). She said the specific department was open between the hours of 8-6, and it was currently after 7 p.m... I reminded her it was Saturday. That didn't seem to register. That I HAD TO WAIT UNTIL MONDAY. It was like talking to a wall. Finally, I hung up on this woman.

Phoned several times the following Monday while at work, but couldn't spare more than five minutes on hold so had to postpone it until after work hours. Finally, got through on the commute home. The message told me up to 15 minutes of waiting, and of course the "next available representative would be right with you." About 20 minutes later, a customer service girl came on the line. As much as I tried, I couldn't bypass her quickly - it took 10 minutes to get her to realize that I needed the actual PC Software People to help. Another 20 minutes of On Hold Time.

After 50 minutes, and another five recapping my issue, the PC Software Rep wanted me to do everything again that I'd already done for Clueless Customer Service Rep. I explained I wouldn't, that I'd done this already and it should be in the notes, and that I simply needed a new USB. He did offer one piece of advice, about wrapping my pump in aluminum foil and trying again - the purpose was to eliminate any possible other wireless activity that may be interfering. While I wasn't in front of my computer and coudn't do this, he said the only way to ensure that wasn't an issue was to do this while on the phone - if not, then I'd have to do it and call back. Of course, no way to guarantee I wouldn't have to wait 40 MORE MINUTES to get right to them in that department, after going through the main switchboard. Not wanting to waste even more time, I kept him talking and got to the computer to try the "Foil Trick."

It didn't work, so he finally agreed to ship another USB. That call came out to almost 68 minutes.

3. Of course, this all made me recall another Minimed-based issue - billing. Had ordered supplies back in November and December (one order, they split billing in two because of 2 shipping times). However, in billing me, they mistakenly billed my wife's deductible instead of mine. She's the policyholder, I'm the patient. But they didn't grasp this, and so the insurance EOB had it wrong. Really, the amount was the same and our deductible reset in January, so the only practicle impact would be on lifetime maximums - hers would get the hit, not mine. After many phone calls, it became clear in January that Minimed had to resubmit this. That's been pending for 2 months. So, I called to check.

The Billing Dept. Rep couldn't tell me why this hadn't been resubmitted. Insurance had confirmed earlier that day (after a quick 10-minute call) that it wasn't yet resubmitted by Minimed. So, the MM woman told me first it was insurance's fault. Wrong! She then said it was resubmitted, but couldn't tell me when. After holding for a few minutes, she realized that I wasn't going away and told me it was still being processed for submittal. She couldn't tell me why it hadn't been resubmitted, and took offense at my asking. She informed me that it wasn't my fault, and it would have to be paid for by my insurance. I verbally dismissed her lack of knowledge about my insurance and Flex Account circumstances, which dictate otherwise if I don't have the accurate paperwork by end of May. She told me I was wrong, about my own insurance coverage and Flex. I asked her how she knew this, and she says: "Because that's just not how insurance companies operate."

This led to some venting on my part. In the end, after about 13 minutes, I heard that this has been sent to her supervisor for "an expedited review and immediate processing for re-submission to insurance." Won't get a phone call, though. No need to call back to confirm this has been done, she says - trust that it'll happen. If it doesn't happen, it must be insurance company's fault.

I laughed, said, "Whatever. Fine. Thank you for your help on this." Hung up.

One last phone call on Wednesday, just to make sure the Old Pump Sending Back W/In 14 Days Policy doesn't overlap with the New Carelink USB Being Shipped, creating problems that could lead to my having to pay for said Old Pump not being sent back in a timely matter. I was assured it wouldn't be a problem, and this nice Customer Service Rep read back the note he made in my account. This was the most productive and helpful call, of the entire 2.5 hours I'd spent on the phone with Minimed. Total time it took: 8 minutes, 27 seconds.

Wonder if they'll pay any of my phone bill? For the waiting time? It should be like a pizza - if it doesn't arrive in said amount of time, you get it free. That should be the case if they say 15 minutes, and it takes them twice as long to get on the phone. Especially if they're worthless and don't even offer help to fix the underlying problem you called about. This same logic should apply to all Insurance Companies and Service Providers, which are the frequent call-receivers of our lives and frequently leave us in Holding Patterns. This is a policy discussion that should be happening, me thinks.

But as it stands now, It Is What It Is. I rant and rave. Just to vent.

In the end, it's 2.516667 hours lost on the phone to Minimed. Time I'll never get back. (sigh). Just another aspect of Living With Diabetes.

13 comments:

olivejooice said...

That is so frustrating!! I was on hold for 35 minutes total yesterday, trying to figure out this random bill of $90.00, and trying to get shipping labels for the lot 8 infusion sets I still have.

I also thought I would ask them about their new model of the pump- the paradigm revel, and NOBODY knew what I was talking about! I just wanted to know the differences between the last model and the new model...they had to put me on hold again for another 10 minutes just to figure it out. The first lady I talked to didn't even know the new model had come out.

I usually never have issues with Medtronic either, but the last two months for me have been a drag with on-hold time.

Cara said...

I've been w/ MM for almost 4 years. I've only had a "bad" customer service experience one time, thankfully. I hope it sticks to that one and goes back to the wonderful service I'm used to.
Oh, and olivejooice, as for the differences between the 722, and the revel, I'm planning on getting in touch w/ my MM rep. I think that's going to be the only way to get the right info.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to my MM world. Imagine if this was your first pump and these kinds of things happened.

large file transfer said...

I would ask them about their new model of the pump- the paradigm revel, and NOBODY knew what I was talking about! I just wanted to know the differences between the last model and the new model.

sudarma said...

Even i have experienced the same result from the customer service. Lately i heard that the service is improving.

Night Sweating  said...

I think that the case is similar to mine. Is this a coincidence or what that the results are same.

baby gifts said...

When i see incidents like these happening the only thing which i feel like doing is closing my eyes. If we try and rectify it i think we ourselves would get a part of it.

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I am actually scared of all these events and wish that these do not repeat in the future. I am obsessed with it.

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T. Rama said...

I think that there should be a check on these incidents as they embarrass a lot sometimes.

S. Trad said...

I am obsessed with it. Lately i heard that the service is improving.

D. Rad said...

When i read it i thought is it describing me but later i realized that it is quite similar to mine.

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