Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Computer Speak

Yesterday I received a letter from my pet insurers
It was one of those mass printed, faceless notes that was signed with an unreadable signature by someone who is simply called a "customer services director"
The content of the letter went something as follows
.............we are very sorry to learn of the distressing news that you no longer have your pet....At this very sad time we'd like to extend our heartfelt thoughts to you and can confirm that we have now cancelled this policy...............during this difficult period, you may find some comfort in calling our free bereavement counselling line. This is open 24 hours a day and manned by trained counsellors to give you the support you need throughout this time, whenever you need it................
I don't know quite how I feel about this.
A soulless letter with the content reminiscent of  something The Samaritans would extol sticks in the throat just a little...and I find the thought of a "trained counsellor" sitting by the phone in the middle of the night waiting for a tearful phone call to be so sad on so many levels.
Now I am sure the "counsellors" are a selection of well meaning sweet people.
And I am sure in this age of "touchy feely" customer services, all the right words were being said.

But , to me, the most import thing that was missing from the end of the letter
was a name......a simple and personal name.........

George being dragged around the neighbour's garden yesterday by Sarren the welsh terrier puppy

27 comments:

  1. Yes, I completely agree with you. To be sent a mass produced letter is somehow less comforting than no letter as you feel as if you are just another poor old pet owner on the conveyor belt of life. Sorry you have lost a furry friend. Lily. xxx

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  2. Sarren looks very cute, can we see some more pics!

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  3. I would have been very tempted to call the number at 3am just to see what happened. I'd be fascinated to know how you get a job as a pet bereavement counsellor and to find out just how many calls they get.

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  4. I think Shooting Parrots (appropriate name) has the right idea. Give them a call and go all hysterical on them at 3 in the morning!

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  5. Yes!! These companies forget the most basic thing...it is PEOPLE that make a difference

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  6. I agree completely. I suppose it's well-meaning, but I don't think it has the PR effect they're hoping for.

    The photos George being dragged was very well-timed. As I smiled while I looked at it, our cats came running by -- the second being dragged behind the first on the end of a shoe lace.

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  7. The path to hell is paved with good intentions John. Right idea...totally wrong execution. People can be stupid on so many levels.

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  8. I am at a loss for words.

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  9. I remember being quite upset with Solicitor's dealing with my father's will describing my nephew as a "she" and my brother was named "Bruce" instead of "Bryce".

    PS: I have followed your suggestion!!

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  10. I wonder if possibly some poor soul, without family or friends, that recently lost their beloved pet, might find some comfort in this...?

    Seriously, I once worked in customer service for a catalog company and was amazed by how many lonely people called in the wee hours of the morning, not to shop ~ but because they wanted someone to TALK to!

    I do agree, it is not the best use of resources.

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  11. I always sent out a hand-written card to any of our client's who had lost their pet, signed by all of the veterinary staff. It was sincere and appreciated.

    Always full of energy those Welsh terriers, they have such a lovely disposition.
    ~Jo

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  12. I guess they tried... but yeah, it's all so impersonal, isn't it? Reminds me of voice mail hell - for gawd's sake, someone answer the phone. It's so much nicer to talk to a real person. Now I'm wondering if they actually HAVE a bereavement counsellor or if it's just a recording...

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  13. You're right, as usual... It's a sad time when your days of grief are greeted my something so impersonal and I thing they know it.

    Maybe their pitch is get another pet and you can carry over your policy...

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  14. I would not be surprised if this service got many calls. As was said before, there are many lonely people out there. However, I doubt if it is local but probably a call center in India.

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  15. the welsh terrier puppy and george! that cheers me up--

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  16. (That's awesome on the torch passing through, giving everyone something to smile about.)

    I never would have thought of a service like that. You're right, how hard would it be to put a name.

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  17. why not call them and tell them what you feel about the letter? If no-one says, they'll never know...

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  18. I agree, I hate these things, especially when not personalized.

    When my beloved dog died, I did get a lovely handwritten note attached with ribbon to the box holding his remains. I says "We thought you would want to know that your dog Mooch was handled with dignity and great care every step of his final journey" along with their signature. That made me cry and I still have the card.

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  19. you know what? they'd probably like to hear from you and know what you think - your feedback would be useful to them!! See what happens if you try to tell them about it!

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  20. Even if there were a name, it wouldn't improve things for me. I'd still think, "What the hell do you really care about my dog, you never knew her?"

    For my part, I can't imagine trying to find solace from a perfect stranger over the phone. I'd picture an hourly wage slave, sitting there filing her nails, just another day on the job. But who knows, maybe it's staffed by grandmotherly retired biddies eager to commiserate on the difficulties of loss?

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  21. Unbelievable.

    Loved the picture of George and Sarren.

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  22. I would have called bastards and put it in the trash. Oh, and I would have resented needing to read it. But, they're not worth more than that of me.

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  23. By sheer coincidence I also received a bereavement support letter this week - though from the local Palliative Care service regarding the recent death of my mother. My letter is also clearly a set format with appropriate relevant details inserted, and copied signatures over perfectly clear printed names and job titles of two social workers. In my case being invited to a series of group sessions. It couldn't have come at a better time for me as I'm experiencing some difficulty with coping. I immediately rang the number to book a place and had a lovely chat with one of the signatories.

    I know it's not exactly the same but I'm slightly taken aback by the negativity expressed in the comments, John. We all grieve in different ways - as I am experiencing just now having lost a much loved fur-faced family member as well as my beloved mother in the space of two weeks in March.

    We didn't have pet insurance but I miss dear fur-face almost everyday. Especially when pausing to check he isn't lying across the top step of the stairs in his plot to trip me up. Cynically I suppose your insurance company could be using it as an opportunity to get you roped in again for another pet, but why not think the best and take the kind hand offered? You can always say "no thanks" to any marketing approach.

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  24. Good lord, in this day and age of automatons replacing just about everything we do, and eliminating the local human touch, please let me hope and believe the number spit out in your letter does not reach some call center in Asia. As interconnected as we can be, I sense a growing isolation in that sea of anonymity.

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  25. That letter is kinda creepy but at least they didn't wind up trying to sell you something!

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  26. All of your many friends in Blog Land (and in person) hopefully have been wonderful grief support for you. You have had several hard farewells lately. Hope you feel the love, it is there, surely. xo

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  27. I work for a large US telecommunications company. The big thing right now is empathy and establishing a rapport with th customer. Also, not using any big words the customer may not understand..What this means is that in my 2 minute call , I sound like an auctioneer trying to fit in all the "points" as well as arranging for a new modem to be sent out.

    It is so fake and wishy washy. I feel that I am conducting a business call with the customer , not chatting to my Mom on the phone.

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