June 29, 2009:

Dear Kaiser Permanente:
I can understand if you want to have robots call your existing customers. That's all fine and dandy. Calling a guy who moved out SEVERAL YEARS ago (I don't recall if he had service with them or not, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on it.) to ask if he would like information mailed to him is a little odd.

Doing this with a voice-recognition robot whose script does not provide any way to talk to a live person calling outdated customer numbers is obnoxious. While its script did give a number to call back, (866-984-1075), that number just led to another annoying robot, also without a live operator option. It did, however, recommend I call 866-464-4000 to talk to customer service when it couldn't figure out from my answers what it was supposed to do.

866-464-4000 in turn recommended I call another number to connect with singles in my area. I guess that's what they mean by 'thrive'.

A websearch turned up their sales number, but the salespeople insist my phone number is not in their database. Which would be fine if it were true, but obviously I wouldn't be getting robocalls if they didn't have my number. (And the robocall asked for someone I do know used this number once, so they definitely had the number in a DB under their control. Unless of course the survey is phishing, which is vaguely possible.)

Summary: Don't use Kaiser unless you like dealing with brain-damaged robots. If their customercommunications bot will redirect me to a singles line, BFD - I already called their AI a goatfelcher half a dozen times. However, I suspect that if you were using them as a source of medical care rather than a source of aggravation, having to spend twenty minutes talking to braindamaged robots before giving up and using the Internet to find their contact info would be counterproductive at best - and possibly actually dangerous, as I can just imagine trying to explain some important medical authorization problem to a poorly designed decision tree.

Interestingly, while Sales answers immediately, a websearch shows somebody saying that they needed to wait on hold *40 minutes* (and yet ranking the service quality as good?) to speak to the Virginia branch.


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