Categories: Founder's Blog


Sam Bayer


Real time (and why it matters)

Yesterday was a tough day for me.  I had to deal with my cable company (Time Warner).

Precipitated by a seemingly simple need to move the internet feed into my house, from one room to my soon to be occupied new home office, I had to schedule a service call.  That’s how it began.  This is the ensuing timeline of events:

10:15 – I started an online Chat session with them which I thought would be the fastest way to schedule a service call.  Needless to say that was pretty useless.  Evidently, Time Warner looks at Chat sessions as another sales channel…as opposed to a way to provide customer services to existing customers (clearly a missed opportunity!).  Bottom line, the Chat Agent directed me to my local office…whose number, she said, I could find on their website. :-(

For the record, the time on the website wasn’t a total loss because I saw they were offering a special to almost quadruple my bandwidth from 5Mbps to 20Mbps for only $5 per month.  I put the offer in my shopping cart, checked out and received an order confirmation within seconds.  Nice!  I could definitely use the added bandwidth!

10:45 – It dawns on me that I still haven’t solved the problem that I set out to solve…schedule a service call to move the Internet Cable coming into my house.  I ring up their 800 number and start talking to “Jessica” who is interacting with me in a very mechanical, script driven, manner.  So be it.  She politely asks me why I called and I tell her about the cable move.  She then jumps into “upsell hyperspace” trying to get me to buy their super duper Professional Bandwidth package (an additional $40 per month) that uses all of the latest technology and solves all of the legacy problems that the service that I’m currently on (and her company sold me) has.

Whoa.  Slow down Jessica.  I just want to schedule a service call.  But while we’re at it, thirty minutes ago I did buy your “PowerBoost” bandwidth upgrade ($5 per month) from your website and I don’t want two guys coming out on two service calls.  Jessica, I want to point that out to you since you may not see the web order in your computer system yet.

That’s when Jessica gets indignant.  “Excuse me sir, but our systems are REAL TIME.  If you placed your order on the web, I’ll see it here.  Let me check.”  Pause.  Pause. Pause.  “Sorry Mr. Bayer, there is no record of that order in my system”.

Jessica, the order number from the order confirmation email that your website sent me about 30 minutes ago is 5780912So tell me Jessica, does the upgrade that I purchased on the website require an onsite service call?

“No Mr. Bayer, it doesn’t”.

Great.  Than how about we just schedule the service call to move the existing cable?

“No problem Mr. Bayer.  Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

No Jessica.  That will be all for today.  Oh, maybe there is one more thing.  You might want to suggest to your management that a REAL TIME INTEGRATED WEBSITE might actually help you do your job better.

11:00 – Have a nice day!



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