10 September 2009

When on-line services beat face to face

Gerry McGovern tells the story of how, when he needed to make emergency changes to his flight plans, he was able to make more headway by opening his laptop and accessing airlines' web pages direct than by approaching airline personnel (either by phone or at the airport). I suppose it reflects the different budgets and silo approach to customer service development in many large organisations. One would have thought that, at least as a stop gap, airlines would give their front-line staff access to the on-line booking system via the web.

Some organisations do get it, though. I recently wanted to query an order made on-line, whilst in a branch of John Lewis. The assistant accessed the company web site, then handed over his computer to me to change my order. While the on-line and shop services operate separately, someone had at least spotted the scenario of a customer wanting to link the two, and trained staff to deal with it.

(Don't start me on the high-street retailers who now only provide on-line ordering, so excluding many of their older customers.)

[via Usability News]

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