In my blog about the first insulin pump class, I wrote about the RN hosting the class promoting Omnipod over the other pumps she discussed that day. Our family had done some prior research on insulin pumps prior to the insulin pump class and had already agreed we would move forward with the Omnipod. The RN further reinforced we had made the right decision and let her know to share our contact information with the Omnipod sales rep.
It took a little longer than expected to receive any sort of outreach from that Omnipod sales rep – more than 7 business days. While I’m educated as a chemical/biomedical engineer, my professional career led me to the commercial side of the chemical industry prior to starting a few technology companies. I’ve been a field seller, sales manager, sales director, and I’ve led large business units for publicly held organizations. I only provide this background for perspective to the experiences with Omnipod that followed.
Our first interaction with the local Omnipod rep was via text, which I found underwhelming and unprofessional. Here is the actual text message that we received from their local rep.
I completely understand the sales model moving towards text messaging. In fact, I’ve used this approach for my companies, but I believe this sales process needs to be far more sensitive in nature. I’m sure many of you will disagree and that’s OK. In this case, my daughter and I are the customer, and it’s our opinion that should matter the most.
Remember, this is the first interaction we’ve had with the Insulet (Omnipod) company. My daughter, recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, isn’t a ‘kiddo’. It’s absurd. She’s a 10 year-old badass who had been managing her acceptance of this life long disease with so much strength that this part of the text continues to piss me off. Finally, think of the lack of empathy and self-awareness for a sales professional to introduce himself to someone navigating a decision of this importance with a text message that asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” What?? Yeah, we have questions and how about you actually pick up the phone and find out a little about my daughter and our situation. You know – work a real discovery process.
I responded to this sales guy that I had questions and I’d welcome a phone call. He proceeded to respond to me a few more times, all via text, and never once picked up the phone. Based upon my sales leadership experience, I thought this was a one-off and not representative of the Omnipod brand and Insulet company. Boy, was I wrong.
I did some research and sent a Linkedin note to the VP of sales, a director of sales, and the local sales manager. No one responded and that was a red flag. Companies with leading customer service cultures would never allow a complaint like mine to go unnoticed. I’ve known CEOs at Fortune 500 companies to pickup the phone to contact angry customers. There was something off about their response. The lack of empathy from the sales guy wasn’t a bug – it was a feature. My gut told me to research the company a bit as I was confident it would uncover a company culture that not only put customers second but potentially de-prioritized safety.
An immediate Google search of Insulet and Omnipod surfaced some serious red flags and those red flags led me to identify other areas of concern.