I wonder why we still send people through queues? In a day and age where time is so short, no one likes to stand in line, wait on hold or talk with people who can't solve their problem. So, why do we insist on forcing customers to a home page, to an operator or customer service desk when the specialist they need is elsewhere...and now easily accessible?
We used to send people through a funnel to count them, space them, slow them down and to ensure that everyone eventually ended up in the right place. We had to generalize because there wasn't an effective and efficient way of anticipating special needs and directing traffic. The by product of the degeneralization process was well trained but often unhappy customers. Now, mobile phones, computers and PDA's let us do all of the measuring and channeling in a fraction of the time, which makes people happy. They've also raised the expectation bar significantly...peer to peer is fast becoming the norm...direct interaction with exactly the right person, right away is the standard.
So, why do I still have an office number when your chances are better to reach me via mobile phone? Why have an admin who answers the phone when voice mail accomplishes the same result? How often does an admin offer to transfer you to voice mail? Why do we send everyone to the home page, when separate landing pages (or micro home pages) make more sense? Why route all incoming calls to the hotel operator, when virtually every specialist could have their own number?
If someone needs a concierge, list their names and numbers on the website to make it easy to find just the right one (show if they're on duty). Need a sales person or the GM? Put it on the website. Want to book a meeting? Don't go the home page...go to www.yourhotelsales.com to see a list of the people that can give you an answer.
I realize there are instances when you can't know in advance what someone is looking for...so a generalist steps in to direct traffic. But, probably 8-9 times out of 10, we can be smarter than that...if we set-up the most anticipated one on one connections and spread the word how to get there.
Interested in learning how to do 100 push ups? Don't go to any old fitness website, go to hundredpushups.com
Interested in learning how to ride a unicycle? Go here.
Send people directly where they want to go...getting there is not always half the fun.