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When will big businesses learn and switch their brains on?

It doesn’t surprise me in the least that our banks needed bailing out, not because of “casino trading floors” or “fat cat pay packets” but just simply because on a day to day basis I am confronted by the complete lunacy of big businesses and the categorical failure to look at the big picture.

Myself and colleagues once helped one of the UK’s largest Insurance companies sort out their customer service by explaining to them that it was probably a bad idea to send brokers all over the country individual notifications of a cancelled policy with no details of the reasons for cancellation and outstanding payments owed, because that meant they had to handle thousands of calls from brokers every day just to ask why the policy had cancelled and what it would cost to re-instate, information they could quite easily send on the same message. These calls were going into the same service team that dealt with their customers with an average hold time of twenty minutes.

The same insurer had an online broker quote system that allowed you put in a postcode on the first page and on the last page twenty minutes later it would dutifully inform you that it was a decline due to flood risk or area! We helped them re-develop their system but with a little logical thought from their IT team in the first place there would have been no need.

One big bank is proud to inform all brokers that they have moved to a paperless office! Hoorah! However because they insist on you faxing every document to them brokers all over the country probably aren’t enjoying a similar lack of paper of in their offices. Have they heard of the wonders of email? You can actually send a message electronically with documents attached to them, and unlike faxes the output at the other end is actually legible? You might argue you can email to a fax number, but not without an email to fax account and what’s the point anyway? It reminds me of the operation Good Guys episode where blank paper is just being faxed over from another station!

But the icing on the cake was the credit card company who after taking about seventeen security questions and proof of ID over the phone just to let me speak to them, informed me that to change my account address I would have to write them a letter. Yes because as we all know the royal mail is the most secure system of passing information available anywhere, and anyone who has my credit card can probably fake my signature but wouldn’t normally be able to guess my date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name etc.

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