Online Financial Transactions and Mobile Apps: My Struggle with their Stupid Processes

First let me give you some info about myself:

  • I am an NRI. As such, I am not staying in my address in India and in fact, my apartment in India remains locked when I am abroad.
  • I have changed my employment at least five times so far and lived in different countries while pursuing my employment therein.
  • I had to change my mobile number in India due to some technical problem.
  • While I have Aadhar Card and a PAN Card, I do not have an Election Card.

Here comes the saga of my struggle with online and app transactions:

  1. The first one is the website of a life insurance company. Till about three months back, I used to pay my premia by this website and everything was hunky-dory. Then this life insurance company decided to revamp their website. To register again, they require one One Time Passcode (OTP) to be keyed in and this OTP is sent to mobile number. I am in Qatar and moreover, my mobile number has changed. There is no way I can change mobile number for this website as to activate this site, I need OTP which will be sent to old mobile! Nice Catch 22 situation. One saving grace is that many of my policies are now maturing and this website may not be of much use to me in the coming days!
  2. Then comes one of the big banks in India. They sent their renewed credit card to my address in India and it was returned to them undelivered. They have informed me that they cannot send it to my address in Qatar! They do not inform the way out also. Their credit card website link to change address does not work! I am at wits-end now!
  3. Same bank has an app and they advertise that this app helps NRIs to transact with ease! It was not working when I tried to activate this on my mobile. When I sent an email to their help desk, they inform that this app doesn’t work for NRI customers!
  4. Linking Aadhar Card with my bank account through the website of another large bank does not work for me! I do not know the reason for the error message which I receive when I try this link!
  5. Paying of 1% TDS deducted from payment made to the builder is another tedious thing. The concerned IT website does not work for people outside India!

I can go on and on……..with similar experience with payment banks in India, Mutual Fund websites and many more! (Such as the box for mobile No. of most Indian web-sites do not accept anything less than 10 digits, though people outside India are required to use these sites, same goes with Postal Codes!)

What can be done to overcome these issues? I understand some restrictions are necessary from the security point of view but in most of the cases, it is mere commonsense deficit!

Best customer portals should be easy to navigate.  Customer Engagement is a good way reduce such confusion. It is worthwhile to invite feed-back from users and reward useful feed-back. Also these web-site owning institutions must realize that their aim is customer service, and not customer confusion.

Making the user experience of the portal as seamless as possible has to be main focus throughout the entire design process. In the end, it’s a portal for your users and if they feel confused about the lay-out then you haven’t achieved your goal of clear, simple self-service.

It is also incredibly important for user experience and labeling various items must be easy enough to grasp even for someone who doesn’t really know much.

And finally, do not let go of commonsense while designing the customer portals!

Spencer Johnson and “Who Moved My Cheese?”

Spencer Johnson, author of “Who Moved My Cheese?” died on Monday, 3rd July 2017 in San Diego. He was 78.

“Who Moved My Cheese?,” which was published in 1998, was the story ( in just 94 pages of large type and one can read it cover to cover in 20 minutes!) of two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two tiny people, Hem and Haw, looking for cheese in a maze. This book recorded a sales of 25 million copies and became a business and self-help phenomenon!

The four characters of “Who Moved My Cheese?” live in a maze, a representation of one’s environment, and look for cheese, representative of happiness and success.

One day both groups happen upon a cheese-filled corridor at “Cheese Station C.” Content with their find, the humans establish routines around their daily intake of cheese, slowly becoming arrogant in the process.  When the cheese supply runs out at Cheese Station C, the mice leave without angst to find more. But Hem and Haw resist, refusing to accept change. Finally, Haw overcomes his anxiety and ventures out of his comfort zone to find better Cheese at Cheese Station N!

This story helps to challenge one’s perceptions with thoughts such as “If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct”, and “What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” and then “When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.”

Johnson’s main message is, instead of seeing change as the end of something, we must learn to see it as a beginning. To be successful in life, one has to keep moving.

The main take away from this book are (a) Change Happens, (b) Anticipate Change, (c) Monitor Change, (d) Adapt To Change Quickly, (e) Change, (f) Enjoy Change! and (g) Be Ready To Change Quickly and Enjoy It Again