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Who needs good customer service?

A woman writing online recently recounted her visit to a Social Security Administration (SSA) office. Sadly, for the SSA, the visit did not turn out well. She received what she found to be rather poor customer service. We are not surprised. We don’t mean to pile on to the general government bashing, but we well understand the difficulties the SSA faces with its workload and resources.

Nonetheless, for the average person visiting their local SSA office here in Columbus, or anywhere, the challenges and complaints this woman encountered may seem familiar. She found the office itself, whose location she did not identify, to be a “depressing place” with uncomfortable metal chairs.

For a person with questions regarding the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) program or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a long wait in those uncomfortable chairs is likely to ensue.

She notes that time is important to everyone, and that when it comes to customer service, the provider has to respect the time of their patrons. She relates how during her visit, after 90 minutes of waiting, the office supervisor informed everyone that the regional computers were down and anyone needing services relying on that system would have to come back another day.

She then tried calling the toll-free phone number for help. Her issue did not have a menu option, so she needed to speak with a representative. Of course, they were all busy, and it was a 45-minute wait. So, she had them call her back.

On a good note, she did receive a call back. Unfortunately, they could not help her over the phone, so she would have to return to the office for assistance.

The SSA has many customer service challenges, and many of them relate to lack of resources. Hiring freezes, hours limitations, and closing of some offices all put pressure on the remaining workers and systems.

One way to minimize any time lost is to obtain legal help so that you have all of the necessary information and documentation to put together in a complete and accurate application for SSDI or SSI benefits.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Social Security Administration’s Cautionary Tale of Customer Service,” Liz Wainger, February 5, 2014

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