As well as cheap holidays, news, weather and football scores on Teletext, there was Bamboozle, a quiz programme hosted by a virtual character called “Bamber Boozler”. Bamboozle was a series of 12 multiple-choice general knowledge questions, each with four potential answers (selected by the four coloured buttons on the TV remote), and you had to get each one correct to move to the next question. It was a bit like “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, but a couple of decades earlier. Answering any question wrong bumped players right back right to the start again. There was no way to save your progress or go back one step.
The questions in each game stayed the same, so even if you didn’t know the answers, you could guess-and-learn your way through it, but the analogue pages sometimes took a while to load, so getting many of them wrong could lead to a long game.
Getting bumped back to the start again is frustrating. Especially after you’ve put in time, effort and emotional energy to get to where you are. Have you ever:
- Had to re-sit an exam or resubmit an assignment?
- Had your phone call to a utility company abruptly cut off and you had to go back through the automated answer system again from the beginning?
- Kept your place in a queue with your tip-toes while leaning over to grab an item that is almost out of reach at a supermarket checkout?
- Written a report, but forgot to save it before your computer crashed?
- Completed an online application form, or filled an online shopping basket, only for the internet to ‘eat’ it and you had to re-do it all again?
- Been passed from department to department and had to explain your issue all over again every time?
- When patients are readmitted to hospital, they may end up in a different ward or have a different medical team caring for them, and find themselves explaining their recent experience again from the start.
- When the same patients face a delay in their medical records being updated and they have to explain it all over again to their G.P. or pharmacist (or paramedic!)
- When people face delays awaiting the next steps to resolve a complex problem, and they enquire about the situation, they have to recall everything again from the start.
- When departments within an organisation don’t talk to each other, leaving the customer frustratingly having to give the back story at each step.
- When customers have to start from the beginning yet again when making a formal complaint. (And again when they contact the watchdog or ombudsman.)
- When customers hedge their bets by staying on your waiting list, and the waiting lists of your competitors at the same time, so they don't have to start the wait all over again.
Do you have a Bamboozle situation anywhere in your service? How do you help customers track and save their progress? How can you help prevent customers having to go back to the start?
* In case you don’t already know the answer to the question above is: Green – The Spy Who Loved Me. (No one likes to be kept in suspense either!)