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I hate poor virtual customer service


Jerry_Atrick
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When I was a software developer (some 30 years ago) I was a peckerhead - buried deep in the system mechanics to worry about an abstract concept like users. Then I went for an interview with Coles Myer and one of my interviewers who was an ex-peckerhead said somethng that resonated with me.. As a systems programmer (as I was called), I can make the machine run a few microseconds or even a second faster and users will not even notice it (of course they will notice a machine that becomes progressively slower). However, as an applications programmer (the stuff users use), users will notice every improvement, no matter how minor. So I switched.

 

As an applications programmer, I spent a long time focused on how a user would use the system and what automation + information flows work so the users have everything they need where and when they need it. My environment was predominantly green screen, but towards the end of my programming career, I was into Windows and Apple as well as the emerging internet (very early days).

 

For myself (and most that I worked with), the user and user-friendliness were king. Simplicity for the user was king; not simplicity for the programmer. And we did inter-operate with external firms systems (we were doing things like integrating with supplier's systems for purchasing, etc long before standards emerged). It was the days before the internet, so the type of user was well known, however, the concepts are the same.

 

So, I find myself at the receiving end of virtual customer service designed to confuse. My luggage has been "delayed".. I can't track the baggage using the baggage check number I got when I checked in - I have to have a case number by the baggage claim number. I am presuming the airlines reuse their baggage check in numbers. I have received an email saying it has been found and on its way to Perth. When I look into the baggage handling company's website, it says an item has been located and pending verification. When I look at the QANTAS website, it says it is still yet to be located. WTF?

 

I find many examples of crappy systems design and it drives me bonkers. If we could make thinks like this work in the 80s and 90s, why can't they do it today? For all the "advances" is software development (they prefer to call it engineering these days) and architecture methodologies and the now specialty fields of user experience and user design, we get more carp systems than we ever did.

 

</rant over>

 

 

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jerry a mate who flew all over the world 40 years ago never lost his baggage early this year went for a trip for 5 months over seas he reconds that he should have had a tracker in the suit case and followed that bloody suit case cause it went places that he never thought off it had more flight hrs than him and his wife

 

but that's modern travel neil

 

 

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My baggage was noticed as lost in Karachi, and stayed lost through the middle-east. Silly lot of people, thought I as I revelled in having no luggage to haul around. I got $50 as compensation, which didn't buy much even back then ( late 1970's ).

 

Well the luggage was actually lost between Adelaide and Sydney.

 

 

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Jerry, it seems that basic communication with users has dropped out of the IT culture.

 

I'm no programmer, but I note that pretty much every website and internal application is frustratingly difficult to use.

 

And government computing is worst of all, even though they have the deepest pockets.

 

 

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You know what gets my goat? IVR (interactive voice response) menus with no option to talk to a human.

 

Had to deal with Star Track the other day in relation to a delivery of aluminium piano hinge for the 701's doors. No option in IVR or on their website to talk to an actual human. The coward driving their delivery van didn't want to use our driveway, so they ended up leaving my hinge at their Bridgewater depot which is about 50km from my place. Despite having at least 2 closer depots.

 

Fools. I almost became unhinged.

 

 

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