By Shep Hyken
Duplicate or triplicate (or more) effort is a waste of time! If you’re making your customer go through the same process multiple times, you’re creating a negative customer experience.
I recently had to get an MRI for a medical issue and was asked to fill out some online forms before my appointment. (And in case you’re concerned, don’t worry. I’m okay!) Every form required me to input my name, address, phone number, and Social Security number. There may have been other requests for similar information, but those were the ones that I remember being on almost every form – and there were plenty of forms to fill out.
As I typed the same thing onto each form repeatedly, I thought, “What a waste of time for the customer – or, in this case, the patient.” The solution seemed easy to me. If we could put a man on the moon and manufacture driverless cars, why can’t we program the computer to auto-populate the essential information onto multiple forms?
Don’t bog the customer down.
For those in the medical profession, please don’t get upset with me. I’m not picking on you. I recognize that one form is for insurance, one is for the general patient information to be kept in the office, one is for the HIPAA agreement, etc. Each of these forms gets submitted to different entities; however, that doesn’t mean specific fields can’t auto-populate. What came to mind is that whenever I make an online purchase with a new retailer or vendor, my basic information, which includes my mailing address, billing address, and credit card information, can be auto-populated in the appropriate fields.
And this isn’t just a rant about medical forms. This happens at my car dealership, bank, and other supposed customer-focused organizations. Their processes bog the customer down with repetitive tasks and often unnecessary procedures.
So, here’s a simple solution.
Create a centralized customer profile system where a customer’s basic information, such as name, address, phone number, etc., is stored. This information can be programmed to be filled out on any form that is sent to the customer. How hard can that be? If the company is worried that the customer information might be wrong, just put a check box next to each question and ask the customer to confirm the information is correct. And if you don’t know how to program something like that, just ask ChatGPT! (Just kidding – although I bet it has the answer.)
I think you get the idea behind this. Please don’t waste your customers’ time by asking them to repeat tasks. In this case, it’s forms, but there may be other parts of your process that must change or potentially be eliminated.
So, here’s your homework assignment. Sit down with your team and brainstorm if anything you require a customer to do wastes their time. If you find something, determine if it’s absolutely necessary. And if it’s not, eliminate it!