Monthly Archives: May 2017

Cash is King

Medicins Sans Frontieres have an annual collection here in Denmark, and I was one of the volunteers going house-to-house to collect donations.

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I experienced quite a few people who didn’t have cash but still wanted to contribute. This is in alignment with recent surveys who show 21 percent of Europeans rarely use cash.

However, the belief that the cashless society will be a boon is utter techno-arrogance. It takes the average user approx 5 seconds to drop a few coins into my collection jar, and 10 seconds to fold a bank note and insert it. But nobody managed to complete an SMS transfer or mobile payment in less than 30 seconds.

It might be in the interest of shops, banks, and the tax collector to get rid of cash. But does it justify wasting 4,000 years of time globally every day? Consider the total cost to everyone in money, time and effort before you add technology to a process.

 

Don’t Let Developers Ruin Your Reputation

Developers hate it when pesky users raise bug reports against their wonderful creations. I’m a developer myself and have sometimes found myself mystified why a specific piece of code didn’t work in a specific case.

But don’t ever let developers tell the users that the code works fine, and the problem must be with the user.

I communicate with a lot of people and have been using Contactually to keep a central record of all my contacts. One nice feature of this tool is that it can use IMAP to connect to my mailbox to include the emails I’ve sent in the overview. For some reason, this IMAP functionality stopped working, and after some back-and-forth with support, I was told that the problem was with my password.

This is a rather disingenuous excuse, as the software already gives me an error if I enter an invalid password. It reminds me of the Beavis and Butthead episode called “Customers Suck“, where the two idiots don’t want to serve customers and can’t even be bothered to come up with a good excuse.

However, the poor customer service employee had no choice but to pass this lame attempt at blame-shifting to me. I had to cancel the service.

Make sure you are not allowing your developers to shrink their responsibilities and ruin your reputation with customers internal and external.

Why I Now Hate Apple (Hint: Chatbots)

In a famous Monty Python sketch, John Cleese tries to return a dead parrot to the shopkeeper where he bought it. However, the shopkeeper is impervious to reason and claims the clearly dead parrot is still alive.

Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch

I just had a “dead parrot” moment with iTunes support. Their support used to be excellent, but the humans have now been replaced by imbecilic chatbots. This is a serious miscalculation.

What really annoys customers is when they are not listened to, and not listening is the one core competency of today’s chatbots. Being served platitudes about “we understand you are unhappy” doesn’t make me happier…

If you are considering chatbots for some aspect of your operation, make sure to offer an option for the customer to give feedback. Apple doesn’t, and Tim Cook probably thinks their support is brilliant. It isn’t.