customerjourneyI often start with the ‘morning list’ when I talk at conferences about removing service effort and creating the emotions that match your brand. You know the tasks that auto-pop or a list on a bit of paper or the stickies around your screen. Not the ones for work. The jobs that have to be squiggled in between meetings. The last couple of days was simples but an interesting example of the ‘morning list’. Book at doctor’s appointment. Book a flight. Get broadband that works.


Let’s take the doctor’s appointment. My doctor called me with a test result 2 days after a test. Impressive service. He would make an appointment with a  specialist (don’t worry, it’s all minor stuff). I called the healthcare company to accelerate it. Eventually after 40 minutes, they gave me two authorisation numbers I needed. They had to nominate a list of 3 doctors for me to choose from because they’d done a deal with a healthcare chain. I told them I would not be using these doctors as I’d use the one my GP recommended. But it’s their process. Catch 22, I’d have to go through the process and call again. Very clunky.

I emailed the authorisation numbers to my GP. A few days later, I’d heard nothing so I called the GP surgery. They had in fact acted as soon as they got my email. They’d written to the specialist so I could now call them. But not told me. Very clunky. I got the number to call the specialist, but I had to ring the healthcare insurer again. They have to issue a new auth number. It’s their process. The systems down. So we give up and they’ll call back. Voicemail on my mobile delivers a day later, followed by ping ping pong pong. Eventually I think I got a number – no come to think of it, I just gave up. Back at the specialist, I left a message on an answer machine as the secretary only worked mornings. Back to backed in meetings the following morning, so my kind wife who’s even busier than me, picked it up and eventually sorted it. It was the wrong number anyway, but being medical she’d been able to research and source the right number and do the right things. Job done. She’ll send me a bill for her time!

Lesson number 1. Whatever happened to the $15bn ($) spent on systems “choose and book” which would have meant no calls, no effort. It fails if you spend less on training & adoption than you do on systems. And the 3rd parties  (insurers in this case) aren’t included. Given the NHS hasn’t adopted email yet and still uses the snail mail, that’s a kind of predictable failure.

Task 2. Book a flight. This had to be left until the doctors appointment was known. So it’s last minute. On the journey back from my meetings I travel 200 miles to London without being to sustain an internet signal long enough or fast enough to get through the Aer Lingus app or website. The East Midlands wifi works but is so slow it cant load the pages. The Three signal comes and goes, but just long enough to kick me off at the last stages. The Aer Lingus app or website do not save data like Easyjet or others do, so its tedious and long. I get to London and sit for half an hour trying to book on my phone app. Every time I complete, it comes back dead ended, saying there’s a mismatch in the price quoted and offered. Or with ‘availability recheck failed’. Plain stupid.

It’s not possible to fill in all your data each time faster than the res system renews. Aaaaagh. Still it was only 2.5 hours of my life. But LOL of LOLs I look in my email on the train after dinner to find I have 4 confirmed tickets. All in my own name on the same flight! Dumb or what!

photoBut heh I have a customer sat survey in my inbox…. alas not about booking but my last flight on Sunday.

[Oh please! Don’t get me started….. Dear air hostess who removed my bag from the locker to give that space to someone else, so I could sit with it on my lap. You the man in 7C who insisted on leaning back as far as the seat would go, despite polite and impolite requests from me. Luckily the check in app hadn’t let me have anything better than a window seat so I couldn’t get out to express my gratitude to these charming people.]

So this morning on my list is phoning Aer Lingus. Not a ridiculous wait, nothing too complicated. Except I have to repeat the data check for each booking I cancel as I cancel them with the same bloke – ‘it’s the process’. Dumber and dumber! I ask him if he’d like the symptoms so he can help the IT guys fix it. He wakes up to it, but I don’t think he’s taking notes.

Lesson number 2. Test your apps and websites on yourselves before flaying your flying customers with them.

So to task number 3. Get broadband. Twitter followers would have seen various flurries regarding Plusnet upping prices for a service that doesn’t work. It’s somewhere between slow and dropped out of school. Not their fault really, I know it’s Openreach and the bit of string. Despite, or perhaps because of, digging trenches at the local exchange and playing with the box outside, we can’t yet get fibre and the copper is “fubaritic” ( look it up…..).

But the hassle of getting through, not getting progress, topped off by a bill increase means I emotionally gave up on Plusnet. Shame, you started so well. Then you throttled me!

I know, I know, they all do it. But with lots of radio ads about free BT TV,  I’m off (well, forgetting that BT own Plusnet now, of course). BT you had me in the bag. But your website and FAQs though pretty, do not include two vital ingredients. Do your call packages include mobile calls? What is “AMC” – it seems to be the alternative way to get free football rather than paying to get it online or through the Skybox. Nowhere is this “TLA” explained.

I try for the phone number which isn’t easy to find, so I guess at 0800 800 800 but get a message to say it’s changed to another number. Why would you do that with such a memorable number – too easy to ring I suppose. Twitter tells me chat is down and apologises for the queues, so I try the number anyway. An impressive use of speech recognition and offered call backs within an hour. I have to select ‘2’ to join the queue – now that’s novel. Eventually I’ll get through, I’m working so I don’t mind the wait and at least it’s a ring tone, not musak-on-hold.

So I pose my question. I’m on your page xyz for broadband packages, do “calls” include mobile or not? After 4 attempts at explaining my question, I give up and say “I give up” and hang up. But the technology is clever and my phone rings immediately. I can’t shake off the polite gentleman in Pune that easily. He explains that the phone line must have cut off and I explain that I cut it off.

So the word ‘Skybox’ written on the BT site, prompts Sky in my head and I look at their site. Free broadband. All is clear as clear can be. I don’t need FAQs. I choose what I want. I start to buy….. we can’t do that online, ring this number…… It’s clearly not my day.

Well the lovely lady in Dunfirmline cottons on quickly that I do not want to spend my day cleaning her data and handles it well. I tell her exactly what I want. Job done. She tries her very best to shorten the regulatory stuff. She never did say why I couldn’t buy online and I’d run out of steam to ask her. We half started the conversation about getting an engineer on my flimsy piece of copper, but I gave in and said I’d go through the process once I’d got that far. No need to call Plusnet, their switching team do all that.

Only after I ring off do I remember my indignation at the sheer gall of re-appointing Rebekah Brooks to run a newspaper and that Sky as a Murdoch  company should have not got my business. I wonder if she’s still friends with those fellas in Downing Street… Did you read the one about a father in law who’s a lobbyist for the oil & gas industry? I digress.

Lesson number 3. The journey is the website. If you don’t test it thoroughly it won’t work. You lose business and waste millions on advertising campaigns. If you insist on causing a person involved, the person should be human and react. #Test&Learn. #Sense&React

Simples really.

So next time you look at your morning list, think about your own company and what it does for customers and staff. Take an hour out to test your own journeys. Or go sit with an agent or in a shop for an hour. I know, it’s not as sexy as spending millions on voice recognition or biometrics. It’s not what future CEOs do- or is it?

Get in touch if you want your customer journeys tested with our latest ‘Me2B’ technology ( it’s called a customer doing real things…) or go to for an intro to our thinking around “The Best Service Is No Service” and “Your Customer Rules!”books 1&2