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Dealing With Difficult People on the Phone at MedMobile


MedMobile is a medical supply business located in Los Angeles, California, employing 62 full-time and 11 part-time workers. The company specializes in equipment designed to improve patient mobility (walkers, motorized carts, wheelchairs, mechanized beds and chairs). Average yearly sales are in the area of $1.5 million.
The primary client base for the company is insurance companies that pay for rehabilitation following worker accidents or injuries. Medical professionals who conduct the patient medical case file reviews and recommend treatment programs are in regular contact with the account representatives for MedMobile.

Your Role

As an account representative with MedMobile, you have been with the company for about 18 months. Your main job is to help clients determine and obtain the correct equipment needed to assist their patients. To do this, you spend hours on the phone daily and often know clients by voice. In recent months you have become extremely frustrated, almost to the point of anger. A new claims adjuster works for one of your primary account companies, TrueCare Insurance Company. His name is Abeyola Pepukayi, and he has been with TrueCare eight weeks. He has been an adjuster for a little over a year.
You just got off the phone after a lengthy conversation with Abeyola and you are agitated. For over half an hour you tried unsuccessfully to explain why you felt the equipment being ordered by Abeyola was not the best for the patient's injury, as he described it to you.
Because this isn't the first time such an encounter has taken place, you are now
in your supervisor's office venting. While discussing the situation with your boss,
you note the following about Abeyola:

He doesn't listen. No matter what you say, he asks totally irrelevant questions about other equipment.

He usually has no idea what you're talking about.

He is rude and interrupts, often making statements such as "One moment, please. That makes no sense."

You have spent hours discussing equipment design and function because he doesn't know anything about it.

He spends endless amounts of time getting off track and trying to discuss other issues or topics.

After your conversation, your boss called a friend at TrueCare to see what he
knew of the situation. The friend, David Helmstedter, supervises Abeyola. Apparently, Abeyola has been venting to David about you. From what David has been told:

You are rude and abrupt and aren't very friendly. Abeyola has tried to establish a relationship, but you have ignored his efforts.

Abeyola is trying hard to learn the terminology and equipment but you are unwilling to help.

You speak rapidly, using a lot of technical language that you don't explain.

Critical Thinking Questions

1. What seems to be happening here? Does Abeyola have any legitimate complaints? If so, what are they?
2. What steps or process can you use to clarify understanding?
3. What cultural differences might be involved in this scenario?

Although this is a lengthy scenario it is based on what your opinion of the situation is and what you would do differently to fix it. as well as what differences you see. You only need to answer the three questions that is about the scenario.

Solution Preview

What seems to be happening here? Does Abeyola have any legitimate complaints? If so, what are they?

Yes, Some of the complaints of Abeyola appear to be quite legitimate, such as the fact that the account representative has been using a lot of technical language which is not understood by him and also the fact that the account representative is not patient enough to help Abeyola in learning about the ...

Solution Summary

Dealing With Difficult People on the Phone at MedMobile