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Broken digital: the frustrating, the costly and the funny

November 13, 2018

old_broken_chainAlready before lunchtime today, I’d experienced three examples of broken digital processes in banking, insurance and retail – one frustrating, one costly and one funny – and in that order too! Digital transformation is great, but it only takes one broken link in the process and it all comes undone.

First up, I was trying to complete a credit card transaction over the phone, and my payment was declined. I followed up with a call to the bank, who let me know that a block had been placed on my card owing to suspicious activity (a very small amount paid to a US-based charity – called credit card testing).

Well done to the bank for having automated systems in place to pick up on the fraud and stop it before it caused any serious damage! However, when I asked why I hadn’t been notified about the blockage, the bank’s security guy told me that a message had been sent to my mobile number – which turned out to be a number I had changed a few years ago.

I was sure I had updated my number with the bank at the time. My online banking contact details showed that I had, so I called the bank to find out why this old number was still floating around in their systems. After some time searching for it, they couldn’t find any trace of it and could only assure me that they have ‘put a note on my file’ so that it wouldn’t happen again. There is obviously some sort of broken link in the chain where the change I made to my online record isn’t flowing through the entire system. The sum effect? Frustration and an hour of wasted time, first in trying to process a transaction that wouldn’t go through, then on the phone twice to the bank to sort out the issue.

Second and somewhat connected, as it was in relation to the credit card payment I was trying to make, I found out that I would have been paying too much to renew my car insurance. Why? Because a premium costs more when you have a car with finance attached to it. However, I had finished paying off the car early in 2018 and, even though I was insuring the car through the same finance company, the price of the policy renewal wasn’t automatically updated to reflect that change in status. I only discovered this because I was on the phone with the company trying to make the unsuccessful credit card payment to renew the policy.

While this could be an inadvertent error from the finance company in its automated processes, the cynic in me thinks otherwise. The end result? A difference of $200 on my premium. If you calculate that across all the companies and people with car insurance where the finance has ended during the previous 12 months, that’s a lot of money.

The final broken digital process came in a “Because you purchased … we also recommend these” email I received from an online retailer. I purchased some Tiles – finder devices – the day before, but I think the retailer’s keyword-matching AI algorithms might need a little bit of fine tuning.

The recommended product? A steam mop.

(Pictured top: “Old Broken Chain” by Jaysin Trevino via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence.)

 

 

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