Maximus and its New Approach is it better than ATOS

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Dic Penderyn

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So if someone calls a person a "N**g*er it's OK as long as their attitude is good and they are pleasant about it I think it matters a lot to people what they are called by others It's about a company such as Maximus's desire to define you by the language used to describe you plain and simple.
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Sunny Clouds

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The word customer equivalent to the n-word?  Rubbish.  It's not an obscene word and it's used in many, many contexts as a positive word. 

Alternatives such as claimants are also disliked by some who might equate them to supplicants or who might see them as implying a significant possibility of lack of entitlement. 

I personally don't like claimant and someone else wouldn't like customer.  You can't please one without displeasing the other.  What you can do is to use the word customer in a positive way.

For Maximus to use a word used by HMRC, DVLA, public amenities such as art galleries, swimming pools etc. is not per se to define you in a way that is offensive.   Or do you spend your time writing  letters of complaint to other organisations providing public services that use the word customer?  "Dear Sir, I decline to submit my self assessment tax return or to pay any outstanding tax until you remove the term customer from your guidance."  "Dear Madam, I will no longer be getting my NHS-voucher funded glasses from you until you stop referring to  me as a customer."  "Dear Sirs, I have decided not to claim a government grant for upgrading my boiler as you have chosen to refer to me as a customer." "Dear Councillor, I should appreciate it if you would inform the relevant department that I shall not be using my dustbin until such time as they stop referring to me as a customer and shall instead be taking my rubbish directly to the council tip."

I am struggling to be restrained here.  You may not like the word customer, and you may not consider it to be the best one to use here for a variety of reasons, but it is not, and never has been, a word in the same sort of linguistic categories as the n-word.  Further, I take exception to your use of the analogy in a "so..." phrase that implies that you are summarising what I have said.  I have not implied that using a word of the nature of the n-word would be acceptable. 

Perhaps you'd like a big campaign against the use of the word customer.  What word do you want them to use instead?  I am not saying there are no other words they could use.  I think that client can work quite nicely, but that's my professional background speaking and I've lost count of the number of times I've been to public meetings when people have been up in arms at being called a client, stridently protesting that prostitutes have clients.

You could go out and picket a Maximus building, holding aloft a placard demanding the word you prefer be used.  Don't count on no one else going out there with a bigger placard objecting to the word you prefer.

Customer isn't a derogatory word per se.  It isn't like calling someone a scrounger or a timewaster etc.  It only becomes a problem if you cease to meet the expectations it raises.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Dic Penderyn

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If you don't mind Maximus and their new PR expert defining you that's OK I could have defined what you said as semantic rubbish but I refrained from doing so please do me the same courtesy.

Language is the engine of thought the meaning of the words used is important that's why we don't talk of the disabled  it's about perception how we perceive how others perceive us and how we perceive how others think of us. If you are a customer then somebody is providing something you need or require I neither need or require anything from this company or it's employees as with Atos before them we will not be customers we will be victims.
 
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Offworld

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>confused<

Have innocent people in Pakistan been the "customers", the "clients", or the "targets" and "victims" of US killer-drones?

Sunny Clouds

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I did not describe what you said as semantic rubbish and the issue of who defines us is very different from the issue of whether two words have the same register, of whether a word that is used on an everyday basis all around us as an acceptable term can be equated to a term that is so unacceptable that it is one of the few words in the English language that is very rarely written out in full.

As for whether you need or require anything from Maximus, if you're not claiming ESA, then you don't need or require anything from them, but if you claim ESA and the relevant DWP decision maker refers your case to them for a WCA, then if you want your ESA, you do need something from them, namely a fair assessment.

I appreciate the feelings behind your use of the word victim, but Maximus is scarcely likely to use a word of that sort, so then the question is what alternative word there is?  I struggle to think of one that isn't loaded in a way such that there would be substantial opposition from one quarter or another.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Offworld, it depends on your perspective, however you wouldn't realistically expect those using the drones to use terms such as victims, so probably the best you could expect as an agreed term (as opposed to one used when expressing feelings) is target, because it accurately describes the physical and political process.  (E.g. target of weapon/attack, target of bad/good policies.)
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

DeusExMacintosh

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Is it just me? My first thought when I read Sue's job title was "she's improving the experience of the DWP?" because THEY are the customers of Maximus rather than claimants.
If you think reality makes sense, you're just not paying attention!

Dic Penderyn

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Ok Sunny but I think DeusExMacintosh has the right word it is after all what we are Claimants and the service they will provide is for the DWP not us.
Be careful in what you wish for, God has a sense of humour

Sunny Clouds

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Yes, I think he has put his finger on the technical/contractual arrangement and we can all agree on that, I think.

What I think we can also all agree on is that whatever Maximus calls us whether we're people trying to get what we're entitled to or people helping others trying to get what they're entitled to, we're going to be highly suspicious about its attitudes towards us.

What they call us shouldn't be a big deal.  If we were confident of being treated fairly and respectfully, if they chose what we thought was the wrong word, that would be secondary (which doesn't mean that I disagree with you about the word used needing to be appropriate); but the fact that that people that have strong views about these things like you and me get, if you'll forgive my putting it this way, het up about this, shows that we don't expect to be treated well, that we do expect the sort of hostile attitude that would be expressed by a word like the n-word.

I wish I believed that Maximus will behave more decently than I think Atos has.  I don't. I hope I'll be proved wrong.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Dic Penderyn

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So do I Sunny so do I.
Be careful in what you wish for, God has a sense of humour