By: Nicholas Gamotis

Stopping for coffee at McDonalds I was surprised to find touch screens installed. I thought that the touch screens would simplify getting my order, making it much quicker and smoother. I had expectations from using similar systems at Sheetz and Wawa where the touch screen ordering system is simple and intuitive to use. At McDonalds ordering a coffee with cream turned out to be less than intuitive. The screen was massive, and there were too many categories to choose from, and once I had my item ordered the option to pay was not readily available. After finally completing my order and paying for it, I waited. I watched as my order was pushed aside and not filled until the manager began hounding the kitchen to fill the coffee order.

My experience at McDonalds was reminiscent of dealing with the DMV trying to register a newly purchased car while I was in the military. After quickly looking up the phone number for customer service I was sent to the website. From the website I was directed to a customer portal that was inoperative. I spent almost an hour searching the form database for the appropriate form to fill out, and finally found a registration form but no way to submit it. I broke down and called customer service and was put on hold for half an hour just to be told that I could not handle registering a newly purchased car online, despite the insistence of the message I endured for thirty minutes telling me that I could do anything I needed on the website.

Bad customer experiences are not limited to the DMV and new technology in our daily lives. A man in New Orleans has received multiple tickets from a speeding camera, ticketing his truck that is parked in front of his house.[1] Adding to the frustration of the citizen was the fact that citations have to be approved by two people who review the photograph before authorizing the citation.[2] After repeated complaints by the citizen the city sent a contractor to reposition the camera to not capture parked cars, which fixed the problem for a while, but ultimately the camera was repositioned and restarted the problem for the citizen.[3]

What did these experiences have in common? These situations can be distilled down to replacing human interaction with automation. All of the situations were poorly implemented. And all of them caused the user to spend more time dealing with them than the process they replaced. All of the problems could have been fixed with simple tweaks.

What can we take away from this? First, we can evaluate our processes when dealing with clients and the public. Are the processes in place simple? If you are getting feedback are you listening to it? Second, we can push the government at all levels to apply these same basic principles. Benefits can range from increased confidence in the government agency (in the case of traffic cameras),[4] decreased program costs, and increased customer satisfaction.

Whether implementing a new process, or revisiting an existing process, either in a firm or government agency, taking the time to make sure that the process (online or in person) is performing as it should is an opportunity to improve customer relations. As Dan Gingiss says “[i]t’s the little things that matter in customer experience, and a lot of little things can go a long way to differentiating your company’s experience from that of a competitor.”[5] By implementing simple processes that work, rather than technology for the sake of technology, the legal market and government alike can leverage technology to increase both customer confidence and satisfaction.

[1]See Jonathan Ramsey, New Orleans Resident Keeps Getting Speeding Tickets for his Parked car, Autoblog(Apr. 11, 2018), https://www.autoblog.com/2018/04/11/speed-camera-wrong-car-new-orleans-police/.

[2]Id.

[3]Id.

[4]See generally supra note 1.

[5]Dan Gingiss, How to ‘Do Simple Better’ in Your Customer Experience, Forbes(Mar. 21, 2018), https://www.forbes.com/sites/dangingiss/2018/03/21/how-to-do-simple-better-in-your-customer-experience/#706c4f307204.

Image Source: https://jalopnik.com/a-speed-camera-in-new-orleans-keeps-ticketing-this-guys-1825177553

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