Here is a trivia question for you. Do you remember the scene in the TV series “The Office” when the intern, Ryan, comes up with an idea for “WUPHF”? Essentially, it was a service that would ping your addressee through every medium possible (e.g. email, voicemail, FAX) when you sent out a simple message. At the time, it was both funny and crazy.
Well – WUPHF has arrived.
One example. My dentist, after being in the technology dark ages for years, decided to modernize and “embrace technology.” At first, I was happy that I got an email reminding me of my appointment. That was nice I thought. Then, the next email asked me to log into his web site to confirm. That was mildly irritating to spend the extra time but not too bad. Then, they started texting me the same information. Now I’m not happy. I’m irritated. Then came the automated phone call from a robot telling me the same thing! At this point I was starting to feel like I was getting a technology root canal.
I believe that companies often “over-consume” new technologies especially those that make their lives easier while often failing to look at the impact to their customers. It is the equivalent to teenage drinking – at first it seems really cool so there is a tendency to over-indulge. It takes time to learn moderation and control.
More and more companies are trying to reach out with technology but many have simply not learned the lesson of restraint. We each have our own pet peeves but here is my wish list:
- I want your technology to help me – not you.
- I would prefer more ways to “WUPHF” (contact) you rather than the other way around.
- I do not want to get the same piece of information from you in five different mediums. Let me select.
- I do not want a useless email telling me to go log in to see something else. Just show me or don’t bother.
- I never want robot calls. Ever. This includes calling me during dinner and asking me to verify my last 10 credit card transactions. If Target lost my Credit Card data, please call them and just credit the bad charges.
- If you send me an email or a text, I should be able to reply.
- Don’t ask me to take a survey 2 seconds after I get on your website.
- (with 7.) If you want me to take a survey, pay me.
- I like deals based on what I like not on what you have extra of… If you send me an EMAIL with a special deal on a prom dress (actually happened last week) I will block you forever.
- And, maybe instead of sending me 10 reminders about our appointment, you could actually show up on time!
Maybe that’s the key to the next innovation is customer service. It will be more important to invent new ways to listen and respond rather than speaking and surveying.