I'm traveling to Atlanta next week. Today – Friday – I decided late in the day to book a hotel room finally.
I'm sitting at my desk. I'm figuring there will be some time on hold. I'm multi-tasking … so I use my PC to do a quick search, find some nearby hotels and get a couple of phone numbers. I'll use my office phone with a headset and my hands will still be free to edit a document.
I start with brand A. I place the first call and talk to an idiotic IVR that puts me into a doom loop. I hang up. I call back and get a person. The person can't book a discounted rate so gives me another phone number to write down. I write it down. I throw it in the trash.
I shift to brand B. I place the call to the hotel. A man answers. He transfers me to an IVR asking for my home phone number. I don't understand. I hang up. I call back. The same man answers. I said, "I think there must have been a mistake. I thought you placed me on hold, but I got dropped into an IVR." Man replies, "oh no – that IS our reservation system." I reply, "you don't have people making reservations." He replies, "No – just the hotel reservation system – the IVR." I reply, "I don't make reservations with IVR's." I hang up. (Sorry – but it's insanely tedious – at least in this case … my home phone number??? C'mon – they don't need that to book my room)
I pick up my phone and click on my "hotel icon" to open the app. Within 2 minutes, I've booked a hotel – all of my information stored – and spent $750.
Invest in great mobile experiences – it will pay off. In this case, two other hotel chains lost me as a customer due to a poor (though I'm sure inexpensive for them) experience. Customers expectations of experiences are shifting. These automated systems may have been state of the art a number of years ago, and I'm sure they are quite effective still with many customer segmetns. Give your customers a choice. And … don't take existing processes (e.g., "What is your home phone number?") and stuff them into a new mobile experience. Re-invent the experience.