Don’t ask for what you don’t need!

Don't ask for what you don't need!

Recently I received a bill from a doctor's practice. The bill provided a website for paying online. So I went to the website and the first thing it asked me for is my account number. This is good because the bill they sent me has my account number on it.

So I entered the account number, and the next thing it asked me for was my name. Hmmmmm, I already entered my account number, why do you need my name? But I dutifully entered my name.

Then it asked me which doctor I had seen (a required field). Wait a minute. You sent me the bill. Why do I have to tell you all of this just to pay?

There is a lesson here for anyone who manages data. The problem with asking questions of your customers that you should already know is not only is it annoying to the customer, but it also leads the customer to think, "Do they have any idea what's going on?" The customer quickly loses trust in your ability to manage their data.

So when you're collecting data online, be careful to only ask for the information you need. And never ask for data that you already should have.

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