Unnecessary Complexity



“You just need to fill in here…, and here…, and here… and sign at the bottom.”

A slightly embarrassed hotel receptionist apologises for the complexity of the check-in form, and with a quick squiggle of a ball-point pen she cannibalises the form in front of my eyes, tells me to ignore most of it and highlights the three things they do actually need me to complete. The check-in form is a hideous A4 monstrosity filled with tiny text, way too many check boxes and about 50 questions of everything an ID fraudster could possibly want to know about me.

It looks like a form someone created once, many years ago, when they weren’t sure what information they would need from guests - so they asked everything, just in case. The effortless patter with which receptionists perform this quick form-slashing manoeuvre tells me they do it dozens of times every day.

It’s not just one hotel either, but the majority of the ones I’ve stayed at. You’ve probably experienced it too. What they really need is a nice new form with just the necessary questions.

Do you notice a significant drop off in the number of customers who get through a certain stage in your customer journey? Do you have an unnecessary level of complexity anywhere in your service that they will find confusing? Do you find yourself paraphrasing things for customers at those points? Can you redesign that bit?