It’s The Age Of The Customer, according to Forrester Research and others who track and shape business trends.

Or is it???

Somebody please tell that to my health insurance company, which has annoyed me greatly this week. I’ve been receiving increasingly threatening letters from them, starting a few weeks ago just before I headed out for a long vacation. I didn’t think too much about it at the time but, a week after returning from vacation, I noticed the letters were now coming from a law firm. Yikes!  I called them.

Turns out, my physical therapy claims for a chronic condition were under scrutiny. Microscopic scrutiny. “Could it have been the result of an automobile accident, and the other driver was at fault?” they asked. Or “Were you injured at work and should be filing for worker’s compensation?” Or was it some other kind of accident with nefarious connections of some sort? The claims subrogration unit was on the case and determined to make another party pay.

Exasperated, I told them that it was for a chronic condition diagnosed several years ago and all the information was on file and up to date, since I regularly see physicians for that condition and had been referred by a physician to physical therapy. Then they asked me to spell out the condition. I had steam coming out of my ears at that point. Why bother to have a file about me if they aren’t going to look at it, make it available to people calling me, and keep it up to date? Could they have worked this into their process before sending threatening letters and calling me?

And then there are the phone calls I get from the nurses periodically. I dread them. First, the nurse, who is supposedly helping me, goes over my meds to see if they have changed. Really?? Yes, I spend about 10 or 15 minutes painfully reciting and even spelling the names of meds that the insurance company already paid the pharmacy for. Don’t they keep records of anything?

OK, I’ll stop now.  Everyone has their “favorite” story about mediocre or even horrible customer service.  We can all related — whether it’s the phone company (or worse, the mobile phone company), the bank, the utility, the mortgage company, or the . . . wait for it . . . government agency.

On September 22-23, we are hosting a Business Process Forum in Boston, with the theme of “The World Of Customer Engagement.” For two days, we’ll hear from business process executives who are not only improving their processes, and not only transforming their processes, but are also putting the customer at the heart of it — transforming processes from the outside in and building customer engagement to support the new world of Customer Empowerment. I invite you to be there, and also to follow Forrester’s blog for Business Process Professionals in the weeks leading up to the event to hear from Forrester thought leaders and some of the speakers from the event.