by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 


09 September 2014

Covered California's Twitter Support Is So Much Faster Than Phones

Posted in Latest News

Covered California's Twitter Support Is So Much Faster Than Phones

Covered California earned its 1 Star rating on Yelp due to excessive wait times, which can exceed 1 hour on the phone even outside of open enrollment season.  But Brett MacFadden of Sacramento sought customer support the 21st century way, by tweeting @CoveredCA. And #surprise, it worked. 

The graphic artist and teacher at California College of Arts tweeted his dispute to @CoveredCA and his carrier, @BlueShieldCA after receiving a health insurance cancellation notice. Macfadden voiced after paying $3000 to date in premiums without even using a dollar of medical services that this was the worst experience of his consumer life. 

Not only did he get their attention, but CoveredCA retweeted @BlueShieldCA pleading that the carrier reinstate his policy. Imagine instead what a customer who waited by phone would hear: "Sorry you were on hold for 3 hours just so we could tell you to call Blue Shield, but here's their number. Don't forget to rate us on Yelp! (GULP)".

Just by scrolling CoveredCA's Twitter profile, this appears to be its first tweet to an actual customer. Does it mean CoveredCA is focusing away from using #catallergies and instead solving customer problems?

Here's a typical @CoveredCA tweet:

Not so fast. Not every correspondence between customers and CoveredCA is saved on Twitter, possibly because CoveredCA deleted them to make room for #guacamole. Wouldn't keeping them public at least show their customer support team is working? But a simple Google search reveals many customers who've successfully tweeted CoveredCA and received help. 

Judging the time stamps between MacFadden's first tweet and Blue Shield's last shows both BS and CoveredCA worked to resolve his case in the following 24 hours. Using Twitter may not always be faster than an hour wait, but counting the dropped phone calls, transfers between departments, and frustrated sobbing sessions, it's a much more efficient use of time. All it took was a single tweet and there wasn't a single Taylor Swift song played while on hold.

If the next time CoveredCA's wait time exceeds more seconds than it takes to type 140 characters, make a Twitter account and complain the old-fashioned way: by typing it on your smart phone.