Due to the wild popularity (snerk) of my 2004 "day in the life" account, I thought it may be interesting to relate what an average day looks like for me right now. At least, I'll find it interesting. Perhaps a few of you will be amused or entertained.
4:30 AM: First alarm goes off. I reach over to the nightstand and stab the "OK" button on my phone to acknowledge and shut up the obnoxious beeping. Get up and go to the restroom. Having not gained full consciousness, I fall back onto the bed and immediately drift off again.
4:50 AM: Second alarm goes off. Explain to the cell phone alarm just how displeased I am with the fact that I have to wake up when it's still dark. Sit up in bed and begin stretches. Stumble around the bedroom in the dark and locate my athletic shoes with socks stuck inside them (easier to do it that way than dig around for socks in the blackness of pre-5 AM with my non-morning-person hazy brain function). Sit on the bed and put on socks and shoes while continuing to stretch. Track down location of sports bra and put that on as well. Whine some more. Brush teeth, because I cannot stand to leave the house with that morning breath taste in my mouth.
5:05 AM: Grab car keys, phone, purse, and the book du jour (today it was Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood) and get in the car to drive to the gym. Back out of the garage and hit the garage door remote, which refuses to close the door. Sigh heavily. Get out of the car, walk into the garage and punch the wall control for the garage door. Go into the house through the garage and back out the front door. Get back in the car and sigh again.
5:07 AM: Arrive at the intersection of my side street and the major east/west thoroughfare. Flash high beams at the stoplight to try to trigger it to change. Pull forward into the crosswalk. Inch further forward, flashing high beams. Finally trigger the stupid light change when my front tires are resting on the line at the far side of the crosswalk.
5:12 AM: Pull up to the gym, a mile from my house. Sigh heavily. Yawn. Grab book and purse from the passenger seat, and pop the trunk before locking the car. Dump purse in trunk. Go back to car and get the towel from the front seat. Claim a treadmill and set up the manual program for 20 minutes at a speed and incline that will give me a good heart rate for cardio (the computerized program insists it be able to measure my heart rate by keeping both hands on sensors, which makes it impossible to hold my book... plus it likes to reduce my speed and increase my incline which throws me off my rhythm). Begin reading the book du jour. Discover an impending pain in the left calf after 11 minutes and hit the "cooldown" button. After cooldown, switch to the recumbent bike for 12 minutes. Use towel to wipe off equipment and dripping forehead. Return home.
5:50 AM: Park in front of the condo instead of fighting with the garage door opener again. Round up clothing for the day. Put athletic shoes with socks stuffed inside for tomorrow back against the closet door to be found in the dark. Take shower and get ready for work. Slip cranberry supplements and chromium picolinate in pocket to take with breakfast. Double check to make sure I opened the chromium bottle and not the melatonin. Falling asleep at work, not so handy.
6:25 AM: Leave for work. Have battle of wills with the stoplight at the intersection near my house again. Sigh heavily.
6:43 AM: Arrive at MOP#1 (we're #1, yay!). Walking to the back door, I spot what looks like a mangy dog slinking through the parking lot. Another employee swipes their security card right behind me, and greets the security guard at the back door. "Good morning Bob!" she says pleasantly. "There's a coyote out there running around in the parking lot again."
Ponder this fact while winding through the cubicle farm to my desk, stopping along the way at the water cooler to refill my water bottle. Log into the computer, and proceed to open 7 different computer programs (one of them twice) and log into multiple systems. Plug headset back into the phone. Open 3 Internet Explorer windows for various websites. Open Notepad to keep track of various numbers and medication names that customers give me before copy/pasting them into other programs.
The next aisle over from my cube contains several employees in the outbound call division - these individuals have a different personality bent from the inbound customer service representatives. They're also a good bit louder. Some of the reps who were in my training class begin grinning as they overhear the conversation in the outbound aisle. One of the outbound women informs everyone in earshot that today's horoscope for Leos says "Everything that can go wrong, will."
Great. "My birthday was yesterday. I didn't need to hear that!" I chimed in. Several nearby representatives proceed to wish me a happy birthday.
7:00 AM: Click the "log in" button on the computerized telephone software and mentally brace myself for a long day. First break is scheduled for 9:00 AM. I can live until then. During one lull between calls, put the phone on mute to take a few drinks of water. Phone auto-answers, hit the mute button to turn it off and forget to hit the "after call" button to prevent a new call from coming in immediately after hanging up on this one. Customer service representative from another department is calling to ask me about a pharmacy authorization that was originally denied, then approved, and why. I am not in the department that handles this information, but I do my best to look it up, to no avail. Suggest the rep contact the pharmacy service center, who usually handle these authorizations. Rep hangs up before I can close out my notes in the call tracking program, and another call immediately comes in. Flustered, I forget to hit the "after call" button yet again, and handle a refill order for a customer. This time I am able to finish and close out my notes on the call before the customer hangs up, but the next call comes in before I can click the "end interaction" button, so the call tracking program has part of the information for the new caller on the screen and part of the information for the previous caller. Good game. This time I remember to hit "after call" immediately.
9:09 AM: Finally finish an excessively long call and go to break. Restroom first, then head to the lunch room for hot water to make my requisite cup of Starbucks VIA. Place advance order for lunch to be picked up at 11:15. Chat with one of my co-trainees for a few, then head back to the desk.
9:24 AM: Set phone back to "available" and begin taking calls again until 11:12. Decide to log out of the phone 3 minutes early for lunch instead of risking another excessively long call. One of the statistics that we're measured on for our performance reviews is adherence to our posted schedule. Our goal is 95% adherence, which basically gives us 22 minutes per day that we can be "off" of the scheduled phone times without falling below the goal. This is usually averaged out over the course of the month, but it helps to try to keep to it on a daily basis... and being 3 minutes off schedule by taking a break or lunch early is a lot better than trying to squeeze in one more call that ends up being obnoxiously intensive and takes you 15 minutes off the other direction.
11:12 AM: Leave the desk for lunch. Pick up the breakfast burrito I ordered at morning break (yummy) and chat with coworkers for a while. We trade stories of the most bizarre calls of the morning. I relate a story about an individual who had JUST GOTTEN OFF THE PHONE setting himself up with our parent insurance company for coverage and wanted to set up our mail order delivery service. He didn't even have a member ID number yet. He certainly didn't have a profile in any of my computer systems. And most importantly, they hadn't loaded him into the insurance system yet, so I couldn't do anything but explain to him how our service works, and suggest he check back in a few days to see if they had set up his profile in our systems yet.
My most upset customer of the morning had been a woman who called in 2 weeks ago to order a refill on her birth control and another medication, and the representative who handled her call told her that she had a refill left on the birth control prescription. She later discovered that she was out of refills, so the usual 2 to 5 day processing time was going to be extended to 7 to 10 days while we contacted her doctor to renew the Rx. By the time she spoke to me, she was angry, and concerned that she was going to be taking her last pill on Sunday without her refill. I checked around in my system and discovered that they had finally received a verbal prescription from her doctor's office yesterday, but the order was still showing in the call back processing queue. I asked the customer if she could get samples or a 1-month refill at a local pharmacy, and she blew her stack and raged about the fact that she would have to pay full price at her local pharmacy because her plan is set up for mandatory mail order of medications that you take on an ongoing basis and the insurance would deny coverage. I called our pharmacy service center to ask about getting an override authorization placed to allow her to fill the prescription locally and the representative put that in place, and told me she would pay about $25 for the prescription. I got back on the line with the customer, and she raged about the fact that she shouldn't have to pay $25 when she would pay $7 for the same medication through the mail, and doggone it, she was told that she had a refill, we were WRONG.
I then contacted the pharmacists to see if they could give me more information on how long it would take to push the order through. The pharmacist I reached indicated that the verbal prescription was being screened by the pharmacist who had taken it over the phone, and that individual would have to push it through to the next stage of processing. He recommended that I pull their ID from the note they left on the order and send them an e-mail to ask them to expedite it. I went back to the customer and told her what I was going to try to do to help her out, to keep her from having to pay for that local prescription. I promised her I would call back as soon as I was able to get an answer on how long it would take to finish processing.
I sent the e-mail and then contacted my technical coach on duty to ask permission to add overnight shipping at our cost to the order in case we were able to get it processed by the end of the day tomorrow, she could receive the order on Friday. I got permission for this and sent e-mail to the department that would handle changing the shipping method at this stage of processing. I spent so much time in my after-call work mode on the phone that I think I skewed my statistics for the rest of the week.
11:42 AM: Back to the phones after lunch. More obnoxiously long calls (there goes any hope I had of getting close to my 405 second call handle time goal for the day). Afternoon break is scheduled for 1:15 PM. At approximately 1:05 PM I receive yet another call from a new insurance subscriber who wanted to set up with our mail order system. Unfortunately for me, she HAD been loaded into our insurance system, but not the call tracking system or our prescription ordering system. She was a sweet 81 year old woman on Medicare who indicated she was housebound and enjoyed the convenience of having her medications delivered to her home with a 90 day supply at a time. She was perfectly pleasant while I fumbled through the process of setting up her profiles in both systems and asked her to verify all manner of information multiple times. The last thing I asked her was for a credit or debit card number we could keep on file to charge orders to when her doctor sent them in for her. She opened her wallet, and discovered that she couldn't find the card, then had to go hunting for a statement for the account. She gave me the 16 digit card number and the name on the card, but couldn't remember the expiration date, so I told her she could call back any time when she found the card to put that number on file.
I escaped out of the credit card screen and began the process of wrapping up the call, when she suddenly looked down on the carpet and found the card - it had fallen out when she opened the wallet to look for it. So I went back in and set that up for her, and ended the call at 1:39 PM. There goes my schedule adherence for the day :P
1:45 PM: I checked my e-mail while in break mode and discovered a reply from the pharmacist who was screening the birth control prescription for the customer that morning. She indicated that she finished entering the information on her end and put a request in to expedite the rest of the processing. I checked on the order and discovered it had already been shipped out. I got the customer's phone number and called her back to report "Good news! We got your order pushed through processing, and it's now completed and shipped out overnight at our cost, so you should be receiving it tomorrow." She was suitably thankful, although she wasn't expecting miracles so she'd already asked her doctor to call in a 1-month supply at a local pharmacy as we'd authorized. I suggested she call the local pharmacy to cancel, since her order was now on the way.
1:50 PM: I forgot what time I went to break and ended up just putting the phone back in available. The rest of the afternoon was taken up with more long, involved and confusing phone calls.
I had a call from a customer who was going through our website to order medications - this is his preference instead of placing refills over the phone - and couldn't find record that the prescriptions for his son's medications were on file yet. His son being 19 years old and a legal adult (if not a particularly responsible adult), I informed him that he would have to set up a login and profile for the son with his name, birthdate, and member ID number to access the list of his medications. And for his wife and his 21 year old daughter as well if they had any prescriptions they wanted to order through us. I can see that going over really well. I started to walk him through the process of setting up the login for the other members on his plan, which I was of course not trained on. This took some time.
I had a call from a customer who had received a statement that he had a balance of over $2300 on his account. I checked in my programs and discovered a code that indicated that our medical billing department would be reviewing his balance, as he was on several HIV drugs and had a co-pay assistance program to help him cover the costs of his numerous expensive medications. After unsuccessfully trying to track down any notes on what items were causing the balance, I contacted my technical coach who recommended e-mailing the medical billing department and asking them to review his file and contact the customer to answer his questions.
And the last call of the day was from yet another new member who thankfully had used our company several years ago and was just returning to us. His profiles were already set up. He had three medications that he was going to be ordering through us - normally we would offer to fax his doctor's office to get these medications on file, but one of them was for a controlled medication and he lived in the state of New York, where we're not allowed to fax for class 3, 4 and 5 medications. Since he had the prescriptions in hand, I walked him through the process of printing out an order form online and how to fill it out to make sure it was done correctly. And then he threw me for a loop by informing me that the doctor had begun giving him testosterone injections, and wrote him an Rx for a 3 month supply of the injectable hormone and told him to go fill it somewhere and bring it with him for his office visits. Thankfully this is an item that our specialty pharmacy department handles, so after I spent about 4 years walking him through the process on the medications WE handle, I got to pass him off to Specialty to discuss how they wanted him to handle that particular item.
3:36 PM: Hang up with Mr. Injectable Testosterone. Log out of the phone. Log out of all other computer programs. Log out/restart the computer. Heavy sigh. Head out of the building to my car. Take my turn after 3 other cars getting out of the parking lot. Decide I'm too hungry to go straight home (and am in serious need of buying groceries) so I pull into the McDonald's on the way home. The drive-thru line at 3:50 PM is stacked up 7 people deep waiting to order. Drive 2 miles to Wendy's instead and buy a Double Baconator and chocolate Frosty Shake.
4:06 PM: Pull up to the house. Hit the remote for the garage door, which works properly (I swear, it's just in the mornings that this thing refuses to cooperate - in the afternoon and evening it works like a charm). Drop the purse and keys on the counter. Unwrap the Baconator and cut it into fourths. Eat one fourth with the shake and put the rest in the refrigerator. Sit down at the computer.
Since then I've been busy catching up on Facebook and my games (I had over 300 new items in my news feed, and 13 requests for Farmville alone to sort through), writing this post, and chatting with friends. Soon it will be time to take my night-time supplements and melatonin, and crash.
Me. Sleeping before 10:00 PM. What. The. Heck.
Browsing through the archives for the Work (ACK) category, I found posts that mentioned getting up at 5:30 AM to get ready and be at work 35 miles away by 8 AM - and at the time, I was still staying up until midnight regularly. This was only what, 6 years ago? Am I seriously getting old?
Wait. Don't answer that. I just had a birthday. :(