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Customer experience - get the basics right

Today, I was asked to print, complete, sign, scan and return by email a form from a financial services business of which I have been a customer for over 12 years. Fortunately, the form was only a single page. On that form, however, I had to write my full name, not once, but three - 3! - times.

A good place to start is to assume that your customers hate doing data capture. There are probably three reasons for this:
  1. it is laborious and time-consuming - think: the opposite of enjoyable.
  2. they may not have all the information to hand. OK: I did have my name to hand. But that same form also required me to fill in a tax reference number. Which I did have to look up. And which I had also given them on previous occasions.
  3. they're worried about the consequences of providing incorrect information. We've all been there. Some forms can be inordinately complex and cause quite a lot of anxiety.
So a good customer experience should avoid data capture wherever possible. There are a number of ways of doing this:
  1. Use the data they've already given you. Never ask a customer to give the same information twice.
  2. Build data connections to partner organisations in an ecosystem. For example, a workplace pensions administrator should get most of the member data it needs from the employer. (If your business does not yet exist within an ecosystem, you should start identifying one and integrating with it post-haste. You can be sure that your customers are using your product and service within some broader context.)
  3. Build links to independent identity providers like Yoti or HatDEX. Or use Google, Facebook and/or Linkedin identity management services. It depends on what is most appropriate for your business.
  4. use AI to determine and present useful defaults.
In this day and age, it is no longer acceptable to expect your customer to do extra work because your systems are inadequate and disconnected. Put the customer at the centre of your business and build a customer experience that is convenient to them.

See also:
Ironically, just after drafting this I received an email from Spotify asking me to provide them with some customer feedback. I usually complete such surveys for products and services I really like because I really want them to get even better. So I did. To my surprise, the questions included:
  • Have you ever tried Spotify? Yes, I am a loyal paying customer. I presume that is where you got my email address from!
  • When last did you listen to Spotify? Actually, I am listening to it right now. If you checked your records, you would see that.
  • How likely are you to subscribe to Spotify's premium service? Not very likely to be honest. A second subscription would seem unnecessary while I am still paying every month for the first.
Spotify, I hope you will try harder in future - I love your services, and I'd really like to help.

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