Some days ago I came across an „Letter to a bank“ which goes around in social media currently. It is fun to read and at the same time it made me think about why banks, insurances and other companies act as described in this letter. After all, nobody goes to work in the morning thinking of the best ways to alienate customers – hopefully.
I think they (we) quite often just want to be sure that nobody can cheat on us. Thus we think of ways to make cheating difficult. We invent complicated processes for voucher redemption, we want to see a proof of a customers credibility and we send them 5 page account stup forms which need a week to be processed. I personally think that those who want to cheat upon us will still do so. And those who never intended to cheat will feel offended by to many security barriers. We all understand the need for PIN codes and passwords which meet minimum requirements. But why is a company so afraid of me actually using a voucher I received? Most vouchers companies send out will never be redeemed anyway.
Another reason is that quite often we want to make customer service to better fit with our internal processes instead of the other way. That’s the reason for lengthy and complicated phone menus. Some phone menus are so complicated that people even take the time to collect them to make life easier for others. Those overly complicated phone menus often serve the purpose to sort calls between different customer service teams in the background. Why not restructure and train customer service teams so that agents can answer different types of calls? And so that they can do a warm transfer of those calls which are overly complicated to an expert.
Or is the real reason for long phone menus to capture the call data in a CRM system for statistics? Never let that guide you in customer interaction! Data collection must never get in the way of delivering good service. If you want to have an understanding of what bothers your customers have the managers sit in calls real-time. Or maybe they could do half an hour phone duty per week? They will learn much more by doing so than they can ever learn from the CRM statistics.
For every field you add to a form and every option you add to a phone menu ask yourself, why you need that data. Is it for delivering better service or is it to serve internal processes and structures? If it is for the latter skip the field and change the process.