Monday, January 30, 2006

How hard is it to change your name?

My new wife has spent the last two weeks researching what she needs to do to have all of her accounts, records &etc with insurance companies, banks, motor registry office and work updated to show her married name. She put together a very detailed spreadsheet for each company showing what information she needed to present, proofs etc and where she could go to make the change be it online or at one of the branch offices.

Last Friday she went about visiting those Web sites and branch offices attempting to get her name changed and it's been interesting to see just how easy or difficult it has been in each case. In some cases, the online forms have been so poorly designed and implemented that she gave up and called them. Vodafone, for example, presented an unsecured form, poorly labelled, which required the user's account security code for submission.

Mostly, it was pretty straight-forward. The motor registry (our RTA) visit was painful only for the amount of people present, but in less than an hour she had a sparkling new license. NRMA was also painful, but in their case because the counter staff chose to use their lack of systems knowledge as an excuse to chat to the support staff about their plans for the weekend and the weather. In a much longer period than should have been required, those accounts were updated as well. The staff also fully expected my wife to be lacking some form of documentation required, and so approached the whole exercise with the slow, methodical questioning aimed at discovering exactly what it was she'd forgotten.

St George, ING and the Teacher's Credit Union were all painless, quick and trouble-free and only one of those were carried out online. Which goes to show that a good service process doesn't always have to be an online one.


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