Last week my husband John lost his cell phone in a New York City taxicab when it fell out of his pocket. Lucky for him, the cab driver didn't end up calling to blackmail him because of any lewd photos on the phone (a "30 Rock" reference, for those of you who don't watch the show). What ensued next was a systematic and surprising series of events.John got in touch with the Taxicabs of New York City, which is licensed by New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, a government agency inside the New York City Department of Transportation. They put him in touch with the driver Sajid. Sajid told him he would keep the phone in safe keeping, but told John had to complete a form on the company's website (Sajid was also kind enough to take John's messages).
John went on the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission's website to complete the missing items form. Two days later, John received an email from a Ms. Sharon Brown from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission's Consumer Relations Division. She told John she wanted to set up a three-way call with her, John, and Sajid to determine how John could retrieve the phone. Fortunately, John and Sajid had already planned a time to meet for the handoff (it's this afternoon), so the three-way wasn't necessary.
So one week later, John will get his phone back. But wouldn't it have been easier for John to have called the New York City Taxi Limousine Commission's contact center, give Sharon or another rep his credit card information to pay for postage to have it over-nighted (we live an hour away in Connecticut)?
While this whole experience demonstrated that the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission delivers exceptional customer service, it also serves as an example of an organization bogged down in too many processes.
Sometimes too many mandated employee processes prohibits companies from acting in the best interest of customers.