Given my interest in companies that provide excellent or dismal customer service, and my tendency to provide feedback on the same (to improve companies we frequently do business with, and also to recommend — or warn — our friends and family), I must share about my experiences with Western Union. Not one experience, or a small handful of experiences, but literally, every transaction I have with WU leaves me frustrated with WU as a service provider, and the fact that there are few, if any, reliable services for transferring money internationally.
So when prompted to provide feedback, I took the opportunity to give it, no holds barred. I honestly hope that they take these suggestions into consideration, but frankly, what are the chances? Here’s a response via a web survey about my most recent transaction:
“OMG, i CANNOT STAND using Western Union, but am forced to because of convenient locations for the receiver. every aspect of interaction with your system, from the automated entry, to dealing with a disinterested live person verifying the info that your automated system has just verified, to attempting to contact live chat support when the live agent disconnects before providing the complete MTCN #, is pure torture.
So here are a couple tips from a guy who specializes in usability in technology and in keeping things simple:
1) i enter my information using the automated system, which agonizes over double-checking that i know how to enter my details via a keypad. here’s a tip: once i enter my Gold Card #, how about skipping the automated readback, and asking me for my birthday, or some other identifying information, easy to enter. again, skip the automated readback. if the birthday matches the information on my Gold Card #, assume i know what i’m doing and skip the remainder of the verification questions.
2) since i’ve confirmed my identity, DON’T have the live agent repeat every question to confirm i am who i am. if your system of transference of the data from the automated section to the live agent is unreliable, get a new system. i can make specific recommendations towards systems that handle this without error, and without frustrating your regular customers.
3) we regularly send money to the same people. i’ll bet many of your customers do. how about storing the contacts so we can simply provide a name, without the extra location data every time we place a call.
4) you have my email address on file. how about assuming that i would like a copy of the transaction data emailed to the address on file, so i don’t have to contact support when the live agent disconnects in the middle of reading the MTCN #.
5) contacting live chat support to get information that the live agent failed to provide, the window tells me I’m #3 in the queue, and that my typical wait time is a minute and twenty. Cool, i can handle that. But sixty seconds after my estimated wait time is over, the window times out and asks me to request email support. Really? I should have the option to email support, but what if i want to wait that 60 additional seconds to connect with a live agent? i had to connect to chat four times before i could actually get to someone.
6) i would love to use the website for our transfers, but don’t get me started on the issues we’ve had there. not to mention that transactions performed via the website, a system which is FULLY automated and requires no human interaction, costs $40, while a phone call, which uses an dinosaur of an automated system, plus taking several minutes of a live operator’s time to verify the same information i just entered, costs only $15. i’m not a tightwad, but the difference for the amount of time spent is just nonsense. human capital is more costly than technology — your pricing logic makes no sense.
summary: the easier you make your systems for your customers, the easier your systems will be for your agents, the less time they will spend per call, and the less frustrated your regular customers will be.
given my experience with Western Union, i half expect this comment field to be cut off after 50 characters, so nobody from WU may read this far, but it will be in print on the web, if you should care to read it. the moment a company comes along and provides a service that can feasibly replace Western Union for money transfer, i’m game for a switch.”