I have just been on the phone to my car insurance company to change the names of two of the kids! What I mean is I added them to the policy on Monday and the insurance company got both names wrong as well as not putting my wife’s full name on.
I had to call because I couldn’t risk the scenario of them having an “incident” and not being able to claim because of their details not being right.
This phone call took me 23 minutes and 35 seconds. This is a classic case for automation of the process. I was sat at the end of the phone waiting for someone at the other end to manually enter name corrections onto their (painfully slow) system.
Whilst I was on the phone I also realised that the activation date of the policy was wrong.
If I had been able to log onto a portal to make these changes it would have saved both of us time and trouble – remember I almost certainly had to go through the same process and time on Monday when I first added the kids to the policy.
I have tried automated portals for insurance policies before and found that I always ended up wanting to ask a question so I would abort the process and make a phone call.
We have the same problem in the communications industry. The initial sales contact often needs human involvement because the products are not straightforward. It might be simple enough to order a broadband connection online but usually there are other products and services involved. Businesses don’t buy just broadband and when you buy something you want to be sure you are buying the right product. It’s a stage at which you need expert advice.
We are investing a huge amount of time and money in to this area. This is not a big bang process where one day you will come in and – wow – be amazed at the overnight change. There are many aspects of running the business that need to be accommodated.
The most important of these is customer support which is one of the first areas to be upgraded. I do expect though that when we have finished, if that can ever be the case when talking about continuous improvement, customers will find dealing with us a dream.
The goal is to avoid finding ourselves in the situation I have just described with the insurance company. Neither party ends up happy as we will have both had to waste time and money on a problem that I could have fixed on my own in 30 seconds had I had the tools to do it.