Why am I so grumpy?

Published on 02 March 2012 by in Good things, Latest News

Back in 2002, I was inconvenienced by a call from my bank manager in response to an email request I’d made. Seven years and millions of pounds of investment later, I often rue that fateful email that changed my life!

I was moving house and needed to notify the bank of the impending change of address. My preference was a single email to the bank which generated a unsatisfactory response that a universal update couldn’t be made and each account point had to be contacted separately to confirm the new address.  At that time, like many others, we had a current account, savings account, mortgage account, home insurance policy and life policy. It took a day of my time and 17 phone calls to effect changes that could have been at the click of a button. Simply nonsense in my view.

Funnily enough, nothing seems to have changed with that bank and just last week, 7 years down the line, I had a similar experience with them. Little wonder, perhaps, that it required a huge government bail-out this year.

This true story was the catalyst for a new business life, with the establishment of numero, a business committed to being the customers’ champion. As my wife and children will testify, the creation of numero has resulted in an enduring mindset in which I simply cannot accept suppliers dictating the way they provide a service, purely because they don’t care enough about the consumer to implement an effective service model.

In the last decade, I have invested millions of my own cash to develop applications and solutions which deliver outstanding service to grumpy and intolerant old men like me but also the many other customer types there are in the world (see here for more).

Thanks to this investment, there are very few technology barriers to great customer service. We have technology that can convert speech to text and text to speech, we have solutions that can accurately and unambiguously interpret the written word (and action the intent), we have voice recognition and voice identification solutions and we even have solutions that allow us to communicate with ourservice providers using our preferred method of communication. So clearly there is the potential. In fact, I can’t think of a client situation in which we could not make a difference in less than 6 weeks or where there has not been an immediate payback.

So, the big question has to be, just what is the barrier to change?

  • Cost cannot really be the barrier as all our solutions are delivered around a commercial model based on saving money and quickly providing a return on investment.
  • Business priorities do not seem to be a valid barrier the ever-present imperative in good times or bad is protecting and maximising customer revenues.
  • Executive vision is a possible barrier as not all UK corporate have the foresight of leaders like Tesco, experian, Argos or GAME?
  • Desire also seems a barrier and will perhaps remain one in organisations such as Ryanair where the pursuit of low cost at the expense of inclusive service is an obsession.

Whatever the barrier, our research into consumer needs, wants and expectations provides compelling evidence as to the importance of prioritising customer service and cost efficiencies in tandem. It also helps confirm why I have so many sleepness nights agonising over good and bad customer service. If you do the same, it would be great to hear your thoughts.

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