This week, I received my renewed credit card from my bank and, as we all have experienced, I started updating all my app subscriptions with my new details. To add further pain to a predictably tedious process, I hit a series of “failures” despite vehement reassurances from my bank that there was nothing wrong with their card. My next port of call was the apps – who almost spookily seemed to have the same script writer as my Bank’s CRM desk and reiterated how nothing was wrong with their engine. Until I hit the jackpot with my call to Netflix call center: within seconds of hearing my complaint, the lady answered: “Absolutely sir – we’ve known this to be an issue with your bank, it’s been raised by many clients: you won’t receive a verification password when the request is sent from a Safari browser/iOS device. Just try to use a Chrome browser or try another card. I’m happy to stay online to ensure this works”. If ever there was a “bingo” moment – this was it. Sure enough, the card worked instantly on Chrome, and the problem was solved.

So what was my take-away from this – apart from “thank heavens for Netflix”!

(I) How did Netflix know the problem that my bank’s card faced with a specific browser and what would fix it, when my bank didn’t?

(II) How was Netflix prepared to expect and resolve this issue, when a zillion other apps were not – and under 7 seconds?

As I sat there reflecting on the last hour of my Sunday morning, it yielded a productive outcome: today’s post, ‘Myths Worth Busting’. 

  • Myth 1: I can only be responsible for “my part” of a service:

Companies like Netflix differentiate themselves by owning the customer “in full” – no half-measures. The entire customer journey is their service experience, and a subscriber is “their” client – not just another user. Most others, my bank included – view their responsibility with a tunnel vision: how can we limit our domain to the least common denominator, and so long as the product or service works in one environment, the rest is “not my problem”?

Reality: to a customer, any failure in their digital journey is a failure of the App, the Product, the Brand

  • Myth 2: You can’t solve everything, so stick to the bare minimum: “best effort” testing is good enough:

(a) Most companies view the User Acceptance Testing [UAT] of their digital experience as one on which to spend the least time and money, so they hit the minimum acceptance threshold to go live. Anything from the regular updates to Operating System environments or browsers, are not expenses that yield ROI – hence, “not their problem”.

(b) The digitalized offering is a “nice to have” element to complement the core “in situ physical” USP. Hence their job is to ensure the latter, with the former being an obligatory “add-on” that the client should view as a privilege.

Reality: (a) cloud based active monitoring software makes “live testing” the end-to-end journey in various scenarios, not only practicable and real-time but also inexpensive. Hence today, failure to test any part of the experience is no longer a question of cost but of imagination; (b) most apps are a “need to have” and this pandemic year has only cemented the new normal of a virtual environment as being the future of all business. It’s time to adopt a zero-tolerance philosophy for “best effort” mindsets.

  • Myth 3: What cannot be actioned doesn’t need to be measured:

If the problem is not in my environment and outside my sphere of control, how can I fix it? And if I can’t fix it, why should I try to solve for it or even understand where it might be, so we can find an alternative?

Reality: this is precisely the obtuse logic that stops companies from realizing that at most times, the user is not looking for a solution but a work-around. For example, I wasn’t interested in Netflix fixing my bank’s issue with Safari browser at all – all I needed was a practical alternative.

To sum it up, with digitization as our new normal, it is time for companies to stop paying lip-service to customer experience and take responsibility for our entire journey. The path of least resistance is not always the best one to adopt – and if anything is to be learnt from my Sunday experience, it may be a sure-fire way to lose client loyalty.

To all the companies still in the myth-land, the message from best in class digital-companies is loud and clear: Go All-In or Go Home.

Written By

Kartik Raja