I just received a new bill from AT&T – and get this – it was a personalized video of my charges. Yes, that is correct, a video. It was my actual bill, with my actual charges explained. And it was cool. I watched it three times and then recorded it and made a video to share. Here is the short video I made of my experience:
An Old Dog with Some Cool New Tricks
To be sure, I am not a raving fan of AT&T but I respect their product offering, and they seem to be getting much better at customer service. In truth, their coverage where I live at the beach in Florida is terrible. But, for the most part, they are pretty spectacular anywhere else I travel for work. I pay around $130 to $150 every month for their services. I know and trust and rely on their product. But, historically speaking I have had two issues with their product – at least from the arena of understanding my bill charges and getting someone one the phone to help me get answers. I can sympathize as they have a lot of customers to deal with daily. However, I am still the customer, and I pay them close to $1500 per year. I have the right to expect better. Such is life.
I have upgraded my phone and service several times in the life of my relationship with AT&T. Invariably, I am always confused at the one-off charges I see on the bill and in many cases, I have had the need to call and clarify what they were. I dread this scenario because I know it will be several trips through their telephone prompt system, then saying the same thing to at least three reps that have a somewhat less than mastery of English. One month ago, I upgraded my iPhone to the new 5 (my relationship with Apple is a story in itself, and someday I may let you know about it).
So imagine my surprise when I received an email from AT&T with a link asking me to watch a video about my new bill. The call to action was clear and the broadcast email was well done, so I obliged. It took me to a page at the AT&T site where I saw a video that explained my most recent bill, in clear detail – even the one off charge. It was very well done, and it was tailored just for me. I can still get access to the regular online or printed bill as well – but I feel no need to now.
How did they do it? I am not so naïve to think AT&T chose to invest resources in the AV department to create a video just for me – so I have to assume this was done by some smart new vendor that can tie into their systems and use list data to create custom videos. Whatever the reason, the result was that I understood the bill, and I did not feel a need to call AT&T – this saving them the transaction cost. I have to assume the economics are for the mass/custom video versus the support line. Furthermore, they saved me aggravation and got me talking in a positive light about AT&T. Nice work.
One other thing, because this is new technology and a new experience (I am sure they tested it quite a bit), AT&T was smart enough to ask me some survey questions at the end to see what I thought about it. Thus, validating their efforts. Again, nice work.
If My Phone Provider Can Do It, Why Can’t My Healthcare?
As I said, I spend approximately $130 with my phone provider each month. By contrast, I spend $400 with my health insurance provider. As bad as my old phone bill was, by contrast, it is like a new Harry Potter novel (FYI I love Harry Potter books) compared to the bill I get from my insurance company. Or should I say, the “THIS IS NOT A BILL” I get from my health plan. Take a look at a sample Explanation of Benefits (EOB) below.
Firstly, I find it somewhat ironic that it is called an Explanation of Benefits – as it is neither a benefit nor a good explanation of what I owe. I am not picking on any one plan – I just happened to be able to find a sample EOB for them online. And not wanting to post my own, I had to have something to speak to, so they are the lucky winners. In truth, from what I know and what I have heard, all if not almost all insurance companies are this bad.
Here is what drives me crazy about this document. It gives me more than I need in a poorly laid out manner, so it guarantees my confusion. Thus, resulting in my need to call them. Thus, having to deal with the call center for the insurance company. Thus, ensuring I add anger to my confusion. This repeat cycle is a never-ending loop for million of customers across the country.
When will the health insurance companies get it right? If AT&T can do it, I now expect them can as well.
To your health,
The Team at imagine.GO