James O'Neill's blog

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Why I am the one doing this ?

Why I am the one doing this ?

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A draft post which ended up  going on the spike referred to Lyn Truss's book "Talk to the Hand: the utter bloody rudeness of everyday life". I'm not fan of Ms Truss, or the book - which could have been called "Talk to my bank. An utterly bloody pointless book for Christmas" but I'll concede she had some decent chapter headings.

  • "Someone else will clean it up", covers everything from Pollution to people not responding to e-mails sent to lots of people
  • "Was that so hard" covers peoples inability to use words like "Please", "Thank you" or "Excuse me".
  • "The universal eff off reflex" speaks for itself

It irks me that her chapter called "Why am I the one doing this ?" doesn't have a pithy quote. I got Plain words out on Saturday to find a quote and noticed something to the effect of "The people you write to must never feel they are being put to trouble to save you from it"; indeed. Here are some examples.

  • Bad E-mail. Why am I the one who has to organize the writers thoughts into something coherent ?
  • Phones 1. If I'm calling someone from my phone using the number they gave me in an e-mail, isn't it rude to make me edit it to a format phones can call ?  
  • Phones 2. Phone trees. Don't make me route my call,  train your staff, to handle more than one thing. One UK credit card company wanted me to key in my 16 digit card number... These days I try not keying anything, because systems are designed to route people who can't use a keypad straight to an expert operator. I got a shock when the operator knew who I was from caller line ID. They didn't need me to key in 16 digits at all ! Is any company that can't identify a customer from, say, name and postcode, and which needs a reference number, a company you want to do business with ?
  • Travel 1 Why do I have to go through so many steps ? e.g. Filling in a form for our Travel agent when they have the information requested in the e-mail I sent them ?
    Travel 2. Why do I need to call 3 numbers to find the person at the travel agency who tells me I have to sort things out for myself ? Couldn't they transfer me? Couldn't all their agents have access to the information ? If they are being paid to make arrangements, why am I the one doing it ?
    Travel 3. Why did I have to queue up to talk to someone from BA when my flight was cancelled. They have contact details for many of the passengers. A mail that said Only go to the airport if {whatever} otherwise go home and we will call you. We anticipate this will be approximately X time. -Maybe with updates on time Wouldn't that have easier for them ?
  • Web sites 1. I'm not signing up for everything on planet. "I've posted X on facebook, just sign up to see it". No. You want to show it me, put it where I can see it. Passport / Live-ID and equivalents aren't the answer, I value my privacy. I'm not providing any more information than I think is necessary to buy from a site either.

This last one cost Expedia my business. After Friday's disaster BA fixed me with a flight, 2 days later and via Vancouver. They didn't book the connecting flight to Seattle. I've flown that hop on one of those cosy Fokker-50s, but since that was years ago I went to Expedia to find what flights there were choices exist. But when I want to book a flight on the little Fokker, Expedia demanded I set up me to set up an account. Sorry guys, I can book on Alaska's site; it's well designed with the bonus of  Tim the Moose.

tim-the-moose

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