With all of the recent data theft in the financial sector, it is important to make sure that we don't go crazy trying to protect ourselves from risk. Risk management does have a value but this value lies mostly on the front end. Reactionary risk management almost always produces a point at where the value of protecting oneself or one's customers overshadows the product or service that you are offering. The majority of companies always go beyond this point, some thinking they can even sell it to the customer as a security measure and build their brand with it.
This is a lazy and terribly detrimental course of action for any corporation to undertake.
I recently called Citistreet, the company that manages the 401K plans for the corporation I will be leaving in a month. I was sent a PIN number about six months ago via snail mail but misplaced the paper and one of the security questions they ask is, "What was your start date with the company." Well, I worked for a subsidiary of the company that was eventually taken back into the motherfold--so I really have two hire dates and I couldn't get it straight with the woman from Citistreet.
So, the first gap in their process was a pathetic back-up security system of identifying appropriate customers.
Next, I was told that I would be sent a new PIN number through the mail in 5-7 business days and could then access my account via the web or the phone.
I said, "So, let me get this straight...I have to wait 5-7 business days to get into my account? You do realize that we're talking my money here, right? I want access to my money right now and if you can't do that, then I am not going to take my money elsewhere (in 5-7 business days) but I'm going to tell everyone I know about the pathetic operations process you guys have (that's what I'm doing now)."
In today's Instant Information environment, it is unacceptable to ask your customers to wait even 5-7 minutes to deliver information. Imagine my shock when I was asked to wait 5-7 business days--it was like someone told Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin after their Apollo 11 space capsule crashed into the ocean that they would be returning to land via clipper ship and the journey would take four weeks.
So, I'm cashing out my funds and moving to another vendor and I think any of you who use this company are insane not to do the same.
The woman on the phone apologized and kept saying, "I'm sorry, Sir--but that's just our process."
I finally said, "Your process just isn't good enough. Fix it or the market will." What she didn't realize is that I am the market and so are each of you. Vote with your social contracts, my friends, and you will correct the market and remove incompetence as a barrier to raising the living standard all over the world.
Joshua Minton is President of an Internet publishing and business consulting corporation, Family Bliss Enterprises, Inc. He is also author of two novels, several short stories, poems and articles on art, philosophy, politics, sociology, science, popular culture, business, health insurance administration, internet marketing, blogging and personal success.
You can keep up with Josh through his Podcasts (http://joshuaminton.blogspot.com) and his Blog (http://boyswearpants.com).
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