Can an organisation be so hard to deal with that customers just accept things as they are rather than struggling to resolve their problems?

In this customer centric era you wouldn’t think so but, after discussing last week how making engagement easier might unlock pent-up customer demand, an experience with Sky this week made me realise that the opposite also applies.

Having tried a year ago to get Sky to cancel a service I didn’t need, I actually gave up as paying the nominal charge seemed marginally less painful at the time than struggling to resolve the issue. When the firm later proceeded to double the cost, I tried again – initially with a webchat, only to have to start again on the phone as apparently they won’t cancel a service via webchat. After 30 minutes on the phone, Sky eventually acknowledged my problem, only to then request further in-depth documentation to finally sort it out.

Clearly, I wasn’t happy. I was left feeling deeply frustrated and can’t ever imagine a scenario where I would go back to Sky (unless they offered me decent broadband – more on that later). Unfortunately, they’re not unique when it comes to making it almost impossible for customers to engage without considerable effort.

We know that there’s a strong link between reducing customer effort and an increase in demand for service. Most organisations now generally accept that that’s a good thing – as long as the customer contact is valuable. My Sky experience however suggests that although increasing effort can ‘put off’ demand, customers only have so much tolerance.

In this week’s SabioSense we highlight another major vendor adding payments to its messaging platform, report on the death of personal cars, highlight a Devon village fed up with its broadband access speed, and also look at how video doctor consultations will soon be a reality for some UK patients.

  • Facebook brings Messenger payments to the UK – according to Facebook ‘more and more people are having conversations on Messenger about paying one another’,  so it is now making payments available on Messenger, along with a new Virtual Assistant that suggests the new service when you discuss making a payment.
  • 'No one will own a car in 20 years' – semi-retired US auto executive Bob Lutz reckons that no one will own a car in 20 years time, and that instead we’ll travel in autonomous modules operated by organisations such as Uber, Lyft, logistics companies, utility firms and the postal service’ – effectively taking ‘deadly human drivers’ out of the picture.
  • Devon villagers place BT Openreach on the bonfire – Slow broadband is a major issue for many rural customers including myself! As a Devon village resident I applaud the efforts of this Devon village that placed a giant effigy of a BT Openreach van on its bonfire this year. With coverage in the Mirror, perhaps the broadband vendor will move more quickly to speed things up? (I sure hope so)
  • Talk to your doctor within 2 hours? – with its new ‘GP at Hand’ service the NHS is introducing video consultations with doctors for London patients already registered with the NHS. While there will be inevitable limitations to the service, it looks like a great alternative for the many people already waiting an average of 13 days to see their doctor.