Corporate Grief

nocoldcallsCol used to rib me for being rubbish at talking to people on the phone. Not friends or family, not usually, but corporates, cold callers from call centres, insurance brokers, taxi firms and most of all takeaways (random but true – I would rather spend 30 minutes faffing on the internet to order my thai green chicken than speak to the horse’s mouth around the corner). So in the weeks after his death it was especially hard and quite awful to have to deal with the few bits of corporate fallout that I had to deal with ( I was very lucky that Col’s good friends and colleagues took the brunt).
Cold callers asking to speak to Mr. Campbell either got an expletive followed by a blunt ‘he’s dead so stop expletive, expletive, expletive calling me’. When I did feel up to sorting out the unpaid accounts that needed sorting, well by the time I was through the automated telephone system to an actual person…hmmm, suffice to say poor souls.
I became the impatient angry person I used to reserve for phone calls in person too. And quite frankly in those situations two negatives did not make a positive. So Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms. Computer Says No at the desk of the bank/post office/etc etc did not bring out my best side and my worst side did not indeed bring out theirs. I did elaborate more on how hideous all this was, sort of, in an earlier post Widow Tourettes. In retrospect though I can almost see perverse comedy in those moments of grieving person-meets-normal-totally-not-comprehending-world-at-large.
However, death is a fact of everyday life and grieving person-meets-normal-totally-not-comprehending-world-at-large shouldn’t really be such a surprise to companies and organisations. Customer facing employees should perhaps have a little bereavement training included in their away-day workshops alongside the dry sandwiches, free clipboards and pens.
It was refreshing today to read this post The Loop of Hell on a new blog called Corporate Grief that I am following, which says pretty much that and has made a major company change its evil ways. Well done that woman on speaking out and making a change. Totally beats swearing and crying down the phone and weeping through the glass at bank tellers.

One Reply to “Corporate Grief”

  1. When my dad died suddenly I in my early 30s was left to deal with the corporations. Time to name and shame maybe; Virgin broadband were the worst they told me I had to pay his bill because he didn’t give them any notice, I remember shouting he didn’t give me any notice either and I’m sure if he had known he was going to die he’d have given them the courtesy of notice, however, if they wanted the bad publicity I was quite happy to go to the press. Britannia building society I rang our local branch beforehand, how do I go about shutting an account of someone who has died, oh madam you can come into the branch, I told the manager I would be there that afternoon, I turned up to him not having looked into the procedures and standing there telling me he wasn’t sure what he needed to do, did I care no, I had psyched myself up to do this I needed competent people. The best of all was a lovely lady from SAGA who my father had insured his car with, I rang initially to say he had died but that his car was on his drive and we lived 130 miles away and so would it be still insured and also what about driving it back so we could sell it? She was lovely, yes it was insured, when you want it ring us up give us the details of who is going to drive it and we will make sure they are insured. I rang back a few weeks later and managed by chance to speak to the same lady, she recognised my story everything was so easy; maybe because of the category of their clients they are used to dealing with this situation so training maybe what is needed. Seven years on and I still remember the companies that were good and those that now I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.

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