Monday, August 24, 2009

Just Venting...

Its been a while, but tonight I feel the need to vent. What is it about the need to automate everything so much that the customer now has less say in what happens with their service or product than before the so called 'progress' that computerization has brought.

Tonight, I ordered something online. During the process of ordering, I was asked to sign up and create an account. After doing this, the system then had me go back to my inbox, click on the confirmation email and then sign in to the web site. On doing so, I noted that the system had dutifully remembered the state of my cart - so I proceeded to the payment stage. After I had completed the sale, I read the confirmation email and noted with dismay that I had ordered the Spanish version.

When I called the customer service line (at least a human answered) I was told that I have to let the system dispatch the package and ship it across America to my home address so that I can refuse to accept it - because she had no way to stop the transaction!

What ever happened to a quick call to hand over you card details - over and done with.

Is this really progress - I'm not so sure.


Cory Wheeler said...

I feel your pain Andrew. This reminds me of the last time I tried to order dinner online from a well known restaurant chain. The user experience was so horrible on the site that after spending probably 10 minutes to accomplish putting my order in, and then having their servers time out and loose the order... the value of the old AT&T ad of "Reach out and touch someone" took on a new meaning for me. Here I was taking 10 to 15 minutes to accomplish something that a 2 minute phone call would take care of.

Suffice to say, when ordering take out now... I pick up the phone.

Hope all is well with you,
Cory Wheeler

Andrew Walker said...

Cory, I am so paranoid now that I tend to save anything I can on almost every word I type.

My phone experiences are not much better either - usually only want to call them when I am angry and want to clear up an issue and it takes me 5-10 minutes to get through the system to talk to a real person. I'm sure this is by design.

Quite often we were better off before computerization - if course its all down to humans to specify what the system should do!

All the best.