or LinkedIn here uk.linkedin.com/pub/tony-smith-bsc-hons-acih/a/979/351/
The following experience serves as a parable of how channel shift becomes incoming waste (as John Seddon would put it..).
A few weeks ago I received an annual summary of my Barclaycard spending through the post, although I have signed up for paperless billing. It made for interesting reading, pie charts, the whole trip. What broad areas I spend money on; fuel, hotels, travel, candle-lit dinners out, luxury goods etc. It also had a summary of charges levied. This through me as on that card, it’s paid off each month and I did not recall any charges during the previous year. So I went online and trawled back from April 2013 backwards each month. I hit a problem after October 2012 however, as only 6 months data was available. Oh dear. Who on earth would think that was adequate? I didn’t and I could not find out about those charges without contacting Barclaycard.
A couple of emails later I knew that the charges went on in August and September 2012 and were of very similar values for foreign currency transactions. I had to call Barclays in order to prove my identity and dig further. A lovely call centre operator in India (Sharon I think she called herself after enquiring what weather I was having) informed me that the FSA stipulated that 6 months of account data should be available and I would have to have copies of the two months of statements posted to me. This might take 20 days, although perhaps would be much quicker that that.
I asked at that point if Sharon could put me back on postal statements, which she did. After that, she helpfully suggested that each month I should login and print my monthly statement so I did not have this problem in the future. I reminded her that I will not have this problem again as Barclays will be spending money to generate and post me a statement every month. I will just file those.
When asked “Can I do anything more for you today Mr Smith”, I replied that I would like to speak to a supervisor to make a complaint/suggestion. “Not about you Sharon, you understand, you have been brilliant and I will not be asking them to log a compliment about you”. After a short delay I heard some Sussex/Home Counties tones from a helpful customer services gent called Mike. I explained to Mike that I had been posted an annual summary and then found I could not access a years worth of transactions. “Arrr, the FSA recommend.....”. Oh yes said I, that is surely a minimum requirement isn’t it?
Then it came.
“Well we have millions of customers and it would be very difficult to store those millions of statements”. Incredulous I said, “You already store them, that's how you are going to print and send two months worth to me”. “You are just not allowing me to see them on-line”. “Other banks allow me to, Santander, Nationwide and Lloyds”. I asked him if he has any bills on line, energy, water, mobile phone. He did and admitted he could see more than 6 months. “You can see now how you fall short, can’t you?, I said.
“Could you please log me a suggestion to go to a manager or someone in a systems team as until Barclays can provide a half decent access to statement data, I will be on paper statements from now on. Costing the planet and Barclays to service me”. He kindly logged my suggestion and I have heard nothing since. I cannot image Barclays advertising the fact that “they have caught up with everyone else” anytime soon, so I may be on the paper for some time yet.
This tale illustrates the dangers of not thinking through how people may use new features and systems. The introduction of an annual statement is bound to lead to a few queries, going back the whole financial year. Thinking in silos is never good. Always consider what comes prior and forward of the process being designed. Failure to do so generates waste and costs. In my case I generated 3 emails, a waste CRM call for 25 minutes, costs monthly for statement generation and postage and two statements posted first class to me for the query.
This has parallels for housing organisations at review time or when planned works are coming up. More time spent testing, prototyping, with a tenant or board member panel can identify many service failures before your process or service goes live. Luckily, your organisation is unlikely to be anything like the scale of Barclays. If only 1% of Barclaycard users have a query, that's approx 20,000 waste calls generated into their call centres. If half of those go back to paperless billing, that's extra costs of probably £120,000+ annually.
Channel shifting is a great idea, but for goodness sake think through fully how your customers might want to use it! When its your time, don't get it wrong.
You can link with me on LinkedIn here - uk.linkedin.com/pub/tony-smith-bsc-hons-acih/a/979/351/ It would be great to connect !
Read on to: Your projects. A race or a destination?
Alf (Alison Moyet) - You Got Me Wrong This Time.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
PS As usual, if there are subjects you might like me to tackle on this blog, please get in touch and let me know!
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