Dogged persistence, pure luck, and multiple attempts

Stop making things so gosh-darn hard

Why were these tasks so onerous?

  • Last night (and early this morning) I helped my wife activate a new cell phone.
  • A couple of weeks ago, I finally signed up for BlueIndy, an electric car sharing service.
  • Last year, we refinanced our mortgage to take advantage of a lower rate.
  • I tried to order a pizza online a few weeks ago. I gave up and tried to order a pizza over the phone. We ended up with Chinese take-out.
  • I don’t mean to brag, but I actually convinced our cable company to replace a defective modem last year.
  • A few years ago, I opened an HSA at my credit union.

What did all these processes have in common? Each took far, far more time than anticipated, crucial parts of the process out of my control failed repeatedly, each process demanded huge amounts of intrusive and irrelevant information, and if I reached the end, it was only due to dogged persistence, pure luck, and multiple attempts.

Sound familiar? Quick, check your loan and credit card apps — why on earth are there more than about a dozen blanks? Does opening an account or closing a loan require 30 solid minutes of high-speed typing, two trips downtown, multiple pieces of ID, and an inch-thick stack of paper? Why?

Consumers have started to learn that even very complex processes can be automated and streamlined. For example, the following complex tasks are a relative breeze nowadays:

  • Completing and filing taxes online
  • Renewing car and motorcycle license plates
  • Ordering car parts online
  • Setting up a simple web site

It’s part of your job as a marketer to pay attention to the quality of your product. Processes are a huge part of the mix. Are you welcoming members or treating them like criminals? Are you making things easy or putting up barriers?

It’s not just an “operations” problem any more. No matter how great your marketing is, if a prospective member feels like they’re trudging to Mordor just to complete an account application, few will be willing to make the whole trip.


Brian Wringer

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