A play by play of what it is like to get a report from an online report service
And unfortunately, this is not abnormal . . .
We have seen this reality for years. And we have heard numerous stories from our customers. However, it was time to try out a test and confirm for ourselves what it is really like to be in the customer's seat.
- This is a real attempt at getting a report that we KNEW was available because we had already retrieved it directly from the agency. Our attempt was to simply measure our performance against the competition.
- It wasn't going to be an entirely fair comparison, because we knew the report was ALREADY issued. This would actually appear to benefit our competition, as they would never have to wait for the report itself.
- To add to the advantage, we already knew jurisdiction, as well as the actual report number and more detail.
So we knew this had the potential to misrepresent or skew the results a bit. What we didn't see coming was how wrong we really were . . .
The Online Ordering Process
So the first step was to go to the "Nation's Leading Provider of Police Crash Reports". There is some rumor that this actual organization had been purchased by a very large "Big Data" company that is a primary resource for the legal industry. While we cannot confirm or deny this, there seems to be a connection in their offerings. This organization claims they are the leading provider, and on a national level.
The next part of the entry process after picking the state is to pick the agency. All of a sudden it became clear there is a serious lack of coverage. While this organization claims to be the leading provider of collision reports, it is seriously lacking. We know full well we deal with close to 1000 physical offices possible just in California! This organization offers 20.
The next layer is to enter specific information for the service to go get the report. In this case, we knew we wanted a California report, however we needed to go beyond just determining jurisdiction, we needed to know the report number.
We have written before about this problem, but suffice to say this is a serious problem. To summarize, you as the customer needs to do a significant amount of work to even get to this point.If you don't have this, get back on the phone and start calling around until you get the confirmation and the right information.
Now you tell them you are not a robot, and submit your request. And Wait . . .
So Now What?
Well that depends. In our case you wait. And we mean 28 days. We went 4 weeks until we got this email. It had no been 2 months since the incident. And it turns out.... we made a serious mistake.
This was actually a CHP report, and we ordered it from a non chp agency. This was clearly our fault. We were never going to be successful no matter how hard we tried. Our initial response was "Great, this isn't a good or realistic example!".
But then, it became clear it might be a perfect example of a real serious problem. In fact, it might be a "happy accident"!
Because this error is not uncommon. We see it all the time within our daily operations. Some of our customers who are used to the other services are so used to having to determine their own jurisdiction, and gather all the details themselves. Not only does this take a long time wasting valuable resources, it is error prone. We know this ourselves because we regularly have to correct our customers information. We explain to them we don't want them going through this, only to have us do it again.
The real difference is that we know about this error right away, and we contact the customer immediately. Like within 10 minutes.
In the case of our national "Leading Provider", they did not even notify us, the customer, for 28 days. Waiting 4 weeks to find out we either have an error on our end (or at some outside process) is a horrible solution.
Don't worry though, the solution offered by our report supplier is we could wait another 30 days!
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