Another dot in the blogosphere?


Posted on: November 11, 2020

A week ago, I received an SMS from my health insurance provider. It was a reminder to pay my annual premium.

NTUC insurance SMS.

Yesterday I received snail mail saying the same, except with more words and paper.

What is the problem?

I had already paid my premium in October. I went to a branch to confirm this and the representative even made a Singaporean “double confirmed” declaration that my policy was in place and paid for. I even reminded them that I was not supposed to receive snail mail since the adoption of e-notifications. I reflected on all this earlier and linked this administrative nincompoopery to a lack of empathy.

How so? The provider was not able to see how blind policies and habits were affecting individual customers. A week ago, I mentioned how teachers also need to empathise with students — they need to remember what is was like to learn before trying to teach.

Today I focus on the “if” statement in the SMS: If you have made payment on 02 Nov 2020 or thereafter, please disregard this message.

If you had first bothered to check that I had paid, you would not have sent me the SMS or snail mail. If you did that first, you would not cause me distress or waste resources. If your systems actually communicated and synchronised with one another, you would not come across as incompetent. The onus is not on me to respond; it is on you to take due diligence.

Ditto for teachers and school leaders. Do not assume that students have not submitted work. Check the submission system first. Do not craft warning letters and spout policies and threats. Check with the students first.

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