Why do hotels routinely give you two keys when you check in as an individual? Do they do it because they believe you will lose one, because they think one of them might not work, because they assume you want to have one in your pocket and one in your purse or briefcase (something that is actually quote logical)?

efficiency-costs-profit-Dollarphotoclub_65629544

image from DollarPhotoClub.com

From my perspective is it not cost effective and doesn’t it make sense (even if they are reusable and the majority of them are actually turned in at checkout).

Think about it.

What does it cost them every year because they use more key cards than they need to use to deliver the level of service their guests expect?

Similar questions could be asked about many other businesses, including:

Take-out Restaurants–why do they give you so many napkins (but usually forget flatware)? What is the real cost to them per year? Subway is about the only place in my experience that doesn’t do this. They seem to be trained to give only one (occasionally two) napkins with each sub…I wonder what this practice saves them per year?

Rental Car Companies–Why do they give you a large key ring with two keys (and two remotes) wired together on a thick cable loop that can only be separated with the jaws of life? If you lose one key, you lose them both. That doesn’t help anyone…have you ever tried to put that large mess in your pocket?

Drug Stores–Why do their receipts seem to get longer and longer every time you visit? Yes, I know there is advertising on the back and there are coupons intended to drive your return visit, but the lengthy disclosures and invitations to participate in a survey for a chance to win something…it’s all a bit too much and what is the aggregate annual cost to the business (even if it is being offset by ad revenues)?

Doctor’s Offices–Why do some doctor’s offices take your insurance information over the phone or online, then make you fill out the information on a form when you get to the office? They already pre-authorized your visit before you arrived. Do they like spending extra money to print unnecessary forms…or is it their way of making the time go faster so you don’t realize how long you’ve been waiting?

OK, what does all this have to do with credit unions?

Let’s consider Financial Institutions…Why do they chain their pens to the desk, but the lollipops are fair game? Why do credit card companies (and many other companies) send monthly payment envelopes to their account holders who pay online? I can only imagine how much they spend a year on envelopes that go directly into their customer’s recycle bins.

OK…you get the point: Over time, little things can add up to become big expenses or huge time (and effort) wasters.

I have a colleague who loves remote deposit…but she did not love that she had to call her credit union to activate the service when the app was already on her phone…or that it took 24 hours after that for the service to kick in. It was a waste of time for her and for the employee who had to take her phone call.

One of my favorite wastes of time for customers and staff is stores where the payment processing system does not interface with the register system, so when you swipe your card and answer the question on the card reader about debit or credit, the next thing you hear is the checkout person asking if you are using debit or credit…stupid, wasteful (and frankly annoying)

Action Advice: Take a good look around your credit union. What can you fix today that will save time and money tomorrow? If you have a moment, please share a comment and your examples of time, money, and effort wasters that could improve your bottom line (not to mention the member and staff experiences).