Pronounceable Serial Numbers

Serial-NumberYesterday at my local coffee shop, I realized how many variations there are for some names. Bob, John, Brian, and also Alex are simple. But Catherine, Carry, or Jasmine allow for quite many variations. Here are – just for fun and absolutely not related to recent news – some ways to write another name: Kaitlyn, Katelyn, Kaitlin, Katelynn, Katlyn, Kaitlynn, Katelin, Katlynn, Kaitlin, Caitlyn, Caitlynn. While our names are supposed to be pronounceable (or in shout- and scream-able), serial numbers are not.

But why not?

PETERLIKESCOFFEE is much simpler to remember than a random mix of numbers and letters. Besides the usual confusion between I and 1 or 0 and O, I’ve come across B versus 8, 2 versus Z and 6 versus b. It is not fun to go through all possible misspellings of a 16 digit number, while you are talking to Bob, John, or Randy, who all somehow seem to carry different names when they are not answering customer questions. I am tempted to shout in the hopes of getting it right this time. Maybe I just want to bridge the distance…

One wonders when these serial numbers are so important for the customer service why they are so often (always) located at so unfortunate places? No, I don’t call near the bottom on the back of a washing machine easy to reach, do you?

Easier numbers and better placement is not a one-sided convenience. Shorter phone calls correlate with more customers that can be served. I hope there is nothing wrong with more and happier customers.

It could be so simple…