All I want…

A couple of customer experiences in the last few days got me thinking about systems and processes. I’ve also seen this post pricking the notion of transactional websites.

Hands up who uses webforms that fire off emails; the forms not talking to your customer relations management system.

As a consumer, I’m with the Tesco Mobile man says: “All I want is a no frills service at a good price.”

However, as someone partly responsible for what the customer doesn’t see, I want systems that streamline things for the frontline staff as well as a proper interface between the front end and the back end.

I applied for a temporary event notice yesterday to an unnamed local authority (hint, I don’t work there).

I have an inkling what their back end system is like. It’s probably very efficient and helps the licensing team get the job done with minimum fuss and at a competitive rate.

However, what I saw was:

  • no web form to apply (Hello, EU Services Directive!)
  • an 8 page pdf application form, poorly thought out in terms of me filling it out (a form field Word document would do; hey, you can do fields in pdfs too!)

I had to download the form, squeeze in my details with black pen and take two copies: one as my receipt (!) and one for the police.

Oh, and I had to pay by cheque.

Meanwhile, when parking at Tiverton Parkway at 6.30 am on Saturday morning, I used my account with a certain parking scheme.

The system:

  • recognised my phone, car and registration
  • knew my credit card details (which I verified by giving the 3 digit code on the back of the card)
  • took my payment
  • sent me an SMS confirmation immediately
  • sent me a receipt by email immediately

I can have a guess at what the back end systems of the service provider look like. I’ll also wager that the system was more expensive than the local authority system, but I’ll also bet it’s providing much better ROI.

It certainly provides a better customer experience. Made me forget the pain of paying £4 to park.

I’m not sure where I’m going here, except that I’m probably about to have a pop at local authority system providers, non-strategic decision making and disconnected e-Government initiatives. I’ll refrain.

Disclaimer: the suppliers mentioned here may or may not supply my employer. Any link is incidental. This is not a testimonial for their services.

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