You say Success-o. I say sucks-oh-so.

I spent a little time over the weekend filling in a feedback questionnaire for my favourite mail-order coffee company. No names mentioned.

The feedback for them was very good, because when I spoke to them by phone they were prompt, courteous, helpful and even applied a discount to the delivery costs. They gave me an estimated delivery time and the coffee came even sooner. All-in-all, splendid customer service right? I'm sure after that successful call and great feedback there'll be a bit of back-slapping in the corridors at doing so well.

Except this feedback failed to capture one important thing: that call should never have happened.

After a week of failed attempts to order on a broken website and a dire shortage of my coffee supplies I was forced to pick up the phone to order. Not my preferred contact channel.

For me, in my customer centric goal-oriented world, this was the final unnecessary hurdle in a failed process where I had to resort to phone to get my task complete and a problem fixed. For said coffee company, in their channel-focussed world of call centre targets, it was a brilliantly executed sales call.

Unless organisations like this begin to understand customer journeys, begin to take account of transactions across multiple channels, begin to measure needless interactions caused by failure, they will never get a true understanding of their performance, their effect on customers and the cost of failure.

It can cost 100x more to process a transaction with a live person on the end of the phone than it does via an automated web service. The company left me with a warm fuzzy feeling, sure. But they certainly paid the price.