Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hartford, I'm coming for you!

Yes, Hartford Insurance, I'm coming for you! No, not because of any health care issue, but a customer service issue. And, not even MY customer service issue. It's an issue with literally hundreds of your customers and your customer's customers.

Confusing, you say? Explain, you say? Here goes...

I moved to Hampton Roads, the 757 area code, in May 2007. I did not want to give up my one and only mobile number of many years from the 540 area code. However, some people still tied to landlines are hesitant to call a "long distance" number. So, in order to accommodate my new found friends, neighbors and colleagues in the 757, I obtained my own personal toll-free number.

Little did I know that the toll-free number I now "own" belonged to the elusive (and evidently non-existent) "Deb Johnson" of Hartford Insurance Workers Comp Claims. How do I know this?

Because, I have received literally hundreds of calls from doctors' offices, patients, and who-knows-else looking for help from this person.

And, yet another one...today! Nearly 30 months later.

I've tried polite; I've tried to be proactive. I've called Hartford. I've asked everyone that called to please tell whomever gave them my number that I was NOT "Deb Johnson."

I've called back the many people who've left desperate voicemails searching for "Deb Johnson" despite my mailbox message clearly NOT by "Deb Johnson" including one from a Latino family that didn't speak English.

I've explained to people that despite NOT being "Deb Johnson," I also do NOT work for Hartford and am really sorry they have a problem that I cannot fix.

So what to do? Send Hartford a bill for services rendered? Give up on providing a toll-free, land-line way to reach me? Suggestions?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hampton Roads' Identity Crisis

I finally had the opportunity to listen to the 8/31 Hearsay with Cathy Lewis radio show on WHRV via iTunes.

Someone called in and blasted the region for the moniker “Hampton Roads” again. It prompted me to share this with Cathy and her staff via her Facebook page and her new blog and now here:

Your caller re: "Hampton Roads" prompts me to suggest a future show on Regional Awareness. The region-wide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) aka VisionHamptonRoads.com in process now has shown that Hampton Roads has an "identity crisis" that must be addressed, nationally, state-wide and locally.

Adjectives such as cul-de-sac, branch or tidewater just aren't the right descriptors. The SWOT (Strengths/Weakness/Opportunities/Threats) analysis under way has shown us to be a gateway, mainstream, largest, first and premiere in so many ways.

The collective "we" just don't know it... yet. We have so much going for us in Hampton Roads. We should all be proud to live in this wonderful metropolitan region, and I'm looking forward to big things on the horizon.

But, perception is everything, and we, the citizens of Hampton Roads, have to recognize and celebrate our own greatness in order to share it with the rest of the world.

Did I "drink the Kool-Aid"? you betcha! and, I'm helping to make the next batch!