As a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, Irene worked as a tax examiner and was shocked to find some people filled out their tax returns in crayon. She also worked as a census taker, and her combined experience convinced her of a profound disconnect between people and paperwork that could be expressed in a single, powerfully simple idea: forms were too complicated. After attending a lecture by simplification pioneer Alan Siegel in which he noted that his newly founded firm had worked with both the IRS and the census she took it as a sign and joined up.
Nearly thirty years later, Irene is one of the world’s foremost authorities on simplification. She’s built Siegel+Gale’s Simplification portfolio into the largest and most well-respected in the field, with more milestone projects across more industries than any other firm.
Irene has worked extensively in the financial services, government and healthcare sectors for clients like Allstate Insurance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, General Electric, the IRS, Genworth Financial, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to simplify their customer experience. She has spoken at executive gatherings for organizations like The Conference Board, IBM Canada, Telestrategies, American Bankers Association, American Council of Life Insurers, Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Industry Association.
Some of Irene’s notable speeches and articles include, "How Financial Paperwork Can Build Your Brand"; "Branding’s Unsung Heroes, How Unheralded Touchpoints Affect Customer Experience"; "Bundled Billing Formats: Works of Art or Tape and Glue?”; "Why Government Has Difficulty Communicating"; “Plain Language: Principles and Practice”; "Less Is More: Producing Combined, Yet Simplified Financial Statements"; "The Role of Communications in Systems Integration"; and "Achieving Asset Retention Through Improved Communications."
Irene holds a BA in English and Biology with highest honors from C.W. Post College, and an MA in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. She’s currently a Board member of the Center for Plain Language and has served on both the English Advisory Board of Carnegie Mellon University and the Communications Advisory Board of Dalbar.
Simple. Less is more. The bare essentials. Back to basics. User-friendly. No fine print. Clutter-free. Transparent. Clean. Easy.
Back in the mid-19th century Henry David Thoreau exhorted us...
In today’s competitive marketplace where it is increasingly more difficult to acquire—and retain— customers, every touchpoint matters. At the 2012 HP Exstream Americas User Conference, where this year's theme is “Make it Matter,” attendees will learn how to deliver a better customer experience while improving customer loyalty, growth and profits—all the parts of the business that matter. Hear Siegel+Gale's Executive Director of Simplification Irene Etzkorn present Best Practices in Improving Customer Experience by Focusing on Overlooked Touchpoints. In this session, you’ll learn how simplifying the interaction between customer and company can improve the customer experience.