I describe “bureaucracy” as any system that doesn’t add value and as a result wastes and sometimes enslaves people’s time. The word itself is overly complicated to spell and therefore use. It’s actually a perfect name for itself. Unfortunately there’s a lot of it in the World. One of my personal missions in life is to help eliminate as much of it as possible. Why? Because we are here for a short time, and who wants to waste it on stuff that doesn’t make a difference?
In business, here’s what it looks like. Two of my companies’ support teams were documenting every customer support request. Sometimes in several systems. Using up 70% of their time. Leaving only 30% of their time to actually help customers. As we weren’t able to respond to customers fast enough, we kept hiring more people, which required even more systems to keep track of everything and all the people we were hiring. We lost track of the end goal… happy well-served customers.
At RegOnline, we discovered we could eliminate the need for support if we just simplified the systems our customers interacted with… clearer wording, hide advanced options, better self-service online help. We then simplified the tracking systems our support team dealt with to free up their time. The result… less confusion, less busy work, more free time and value for everyone. The best part was how much easier we made it for customers.
This month at SurveyGizmo, SnapEngage, and PosterBrain we added something new to discuss at our weekly all-company meetings… “What are the most common questions our prospects and customers have asked us in the past week?” We started doing this because we realized that our weekly meetings were focusing on US (revenue, customer count, expenses, profit) and not enough on our CUSTOMERS.
At PosterBrain today, the most common questions customers asked in the past week were…. How will my picture look?, Where are you located/shipping from?, Do you dry mount?, etc.. I suggested rather than making people contact us to get those answers, how about we put a FAQ on our homepage? Our customer service superstar laughed and said “Then what will I do with all my time?!” 🙂 I said how about those outreach emails you’ve been wanting to make for weeks to attract new customers!