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March 04, 2016

What's Unsafe at Any Speed? Texting

This story has been on my mind all week and seems to be catching a meme stream of social consciousness. The Wall Street Journal, Fortune and NPR all have covered the fact that we have an order of magnitude growth in texting-and-walking accidents. We have gone from 250 in 2006, to 2500 in 2014 including six deaths.

The fact that texting is a distraction is no surprise. The fact that most of us can’t or shouldn’t do two things at once is sad but true.  It may be that AT&T’s “Don’t text and drive” pledge may have to slow down.

However, what is catching my attention is the fact that the caution does not get reflected in process.

I recently called a carrier call center, because I was driving and used my hands-free to order a new service. Three times the call center personnel encouraged me to go on line and texted me directions to get the services.

I understand the cost of my call is considerable as opposed to doing things online. But that cost accounting is flawed, when it in effect subtracts my call as a problem rather than accept the sale and average the cost of acquisition.

When you try to discourage costs by offering to waive a fee -- while people are in a queue -- that makes sense. But when you try to switch the sale you run the risk of ending the sale.

The goal in building an online ordering system or a call center should be the user experience and the flow.

And these days we have the opportunity for a much richer experience to start, so the last thing we should be doing is limiting the rich experience with a redirection strategy.

Feel free to text me if you disagree.


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