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KISS at ACC

Someone recently reminded me to use the KISS method when doing something complicated. As Kelly Johnson said “Keep it simple, stupid”.

This should have been one of the main key performance targets for ACC. They have spent over $330 million of the taxpayers money on a system that is supposed to improve customer experience. Part of this is an an off-the -shelf system ACC called JUNO to encourage customers to do the basic admin tasks themselves.

Why? To save money. They’ll tell you it’s a move towards independence for the customer, having control of what happens to your account and when. Think self-service checkout at the supermarket. This is essentially the same thing – you do all the work and don’t have any human interaction. The system was supposed to keep it simple – info comes in from IRD, ACC invoices, the customer pays the right amount – happy days right? Yeah, nah.

ACC’s mandate when JUNO came out is that the customer should not notice any difference – that’s so far from the truth it might as well be on a different planet! Over the last year we have raised dozens of issues, through the feedback form, through the call centre and through our ACC contacts.  We have met formally with senior managers sharing our concerns and solutions.  We continue to raise issues on a weekly basis. In fact, this is stacking up to be our busiest year yet.

Most of our issues are on behalf of clients who are either getting charged too much or have been given the wrong information, haven’t got the refunds they are owed, not been given the use of money interest they are owed, been put on the wrong payment plans, the list goes on. And for some really unlucky ones – there’s a combination of issues which snowball into an uncontrollable avalanche, till they are buried under a mountain of paperwork which they were trying to avoid in the first place.

Why is this happening? A system rolled out too fast, that the staff don’t understand and is not purpose built for a unique service. So much relies on ACC getting it right – compensation, invoicing, levy rates, forecasting for claims costs and so on. What happens when ACC get it wrong? You, we, us, the levy payer coughs up and comes to the rescue. Levies are increased just to pay for something we had no choice in or control over in the first place.

ACC is such a complicated beast that it relies on people not knowing what they should be getting. How many stories do you know of people being turned down for compensation, or business owners talking about how much they pay in levies? JUNO has added to the complication by not doing what it was bought in to do – make life easier for everyone. If it was an employee, it would be out on it’s ear before lunch.

We’ve been told JUNO is here to stay – and so are we. We’ll keep fighting the fight, getting it right for the customers – with no complicated systems and an actual person to talk to.

No stupid here – we’re just keeping it simple.

Sue Walton, Manager - ManageACC

m 027 210 4918

p 0800 RISK NZ

e sue@managecompany.co.nz

Debbie Welsh