Technology service with bad technology

I've noticed this for awhile, but every time it happens it still irks me. This is especially true now that I've coded more and more web applications and databases.

The situation, you're calling into a company to get some service on your computer/cell phone/heater/car. There is a nice, congenial, automated voice leading you through menus, getting information such as your account number, your address, etc. Based on these answers they lead you through more questions. In fact, the automated systems have gotten better. So good in fact, you can usually say "Customer Support" and they will skip through all the crap on the get go and give you to someone who can really answer your questions.

Now, despite all of this question and answer period with Ms. Iaman Automatedcomputervoice the Human Voice first asks you "What is your account number?"... "I need to verify your identity, please give me your home address."

Um... I do believe I just did that with the computer system. Why is it so difficult to tie together your systems? Why should I trust you to handle my cellphone/car/computer service if you can't even run your business in a connected fashion. What kind of reliability can you offer if 3 people ask me for the same information 3 times?

Very little apparently.

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.