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Wednesday 16 March 2016

Customer disservice

Some posts ago I lamented the intrusion of our media into our daily life; setting our mood, dictating our conversation, advising a therapeutic 'switching off', even if for just a few days.

So it came to pass that two weeks ago fate broke my computer and left me adrift. If you thought my diatribe about the intrusion of our media into our very soul was bad, "you aint' seen nothin' yet". Being without my computer was like ..Batman without Robin, Bert without Ernie or indeed a smoker without a cigarette. I was left disconnected, my finger twitching for a touch of the key board, thirsting for the flickering lights of the display, characters reified with the beating rhythm of my fingertips, the enticing connection with the ether-verse, the ...the...
Mmm, Yes it was pathetic. I raved about it noon and night, to nods of "I know, the computer is down", "poor schnooky has no computer", "Yes, those Beeblebrox people are terrible". Indeed they were!  I shall not mention their name, as they came 'OK' in the end, but really the service was abysmal.

I won't labor the point but it had all the common hallmarks of poor service; -

  • A call centre in Asia with long wait times, 
  • polite but ineffective telephone operators, having to talk to someone else for information or authorization
  • service policies that are impractical for real customers. In my case the standard 'service' was to send my computer by mail to have it fixed and returned in 15 days!
  • promises that were not kept. I was promised a technician would telephone in 2 days and it took 8 days with repeated calls in between. In the end what seemed to turn the tide was a strongly worded email to one of the bosses.
  • Harried service technicians with much too much on their plates. My guy spent a total of 30 minutes on site and hurried off to service his workload of some 40 calls a day.

Today like a patient after heart surgery I am doing well. My computer certainly works, however I am still rebuilding the environment that was my home; the layout of icons on the screen, the configuration of directories; the apps that would burst into life whenever they were called on. All taken for granted till they were missing and all appreciated the more once they were missing. Still I am almost there.

The sorry saga is symptomatic of our complex world. We are so interdependent that small failures can lead to serious consequences. No I am not talking about my computer catastrophe, although for me those consequences were serious. No the same connected-ness that we rely on for the orderly functioning of our society is also a weakness. We can see it when an unusual weather event or an accident can cause chaos on our roads. It all argues for systems that interact but are standalone. Systems with greater intelligence. In my case I am looking to move more of my stuff into the cloud and create a System Image to allow seamless recovery. For the rest of the world it is more of a challenge.

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