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Fursprung (backwards) through Technology

July 28, 2010

Last week, I wrote about the wonders of the technological age. This week turned out to be all about the pitfalls.

First, the old answerphone decided to retire, gracefully letting me know by refusing to connect a call when picking up the handset. So, choose a new one. Problem 1: most new answerphones work on the “mobile phone” system of having a screen display you have to scroll through for numbers in your address book. Only one, from a company with the anagram “Pacasoni” (for good reasons) has my preferred system of several buttons that with one punch can dial a frequently used but never remembered number… with a label space beside each to record the name in case you forget that as well.

Having a number of extensions, it used to be the case that you were required to check that you don’t overload the system with excessive REN. 4 is the maximum per line, 3 the ideal, and each phone used to have a REN value to guide you. Tried Pacasoni to find out the REN of my potential purchase… turns out REN is obsolete, and BT say the same. “Try it and see” is the advice given – so a return to the shop if it isn’t suitable. I suspect EU involvement in this, but who is to say…

Second, a typical example of how big companies don’t listen, and how computer companies forget that people are vital. As part of theatremonkey’s expansion, I was approached to join a new scheme – carried out via an intermediary online company. Obviously I needed to see contract information and went to the intermediary’s corporate website. The contract information wasn’t there – so I tried filling in an enquiry form to see if that helped. The enquiry form, naturally, didn’t work – meaning that any potential client couldn’t join the intermediary outfit and thus the approaching company if they tried.

Guess what… tell the intermediary company about both issues, and they resort to “Bombay Call Centre” tactics – ‘cut and paste’ answers irrelevant to the problem. It’s cheaper to do that than address the issue, you see, and in fact it helps the customer in the longer term.

Why? Because customers like myself can instantly spot such organisations as those we do not wish to work with. The fact it has blown a potentially rather large deal for their client – whom they were supposed to help – is neither here nor there; we are both probably better off without them.

On the plus side, at least it gave me a subject for this week’s blog, so it can’t be all bad.

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