Please Select From These Options

Information compression and inaccuracy seems to be the curse of the Help Desk age. My friend Harry had a traffic accident not long ago which he swears was not his fault. Well it never is, is it? However, I think he has a valid point about inadequate description leading to inaccurate conclusion.  

Harry had to turn right across a main road with four lanes, but the lane nearest him was queued up. Someone kindly made a gap for him, so he crept through. Nothing was coming from the left, and on looking right, the second lane was completely clear. With a final look to his left he pulled out, only to be hit broadside by someone who had pulled out of the queue at the same moment to overtake everyone. Harry couldn’t prove that, of course. The accident went down as his fault because he was crossing the main road. What really annoyed him though was the incident description on his insurance record: ‘Pulled out into traffic.’

Clearly this was the closest fit from a pull-down menu which ended up being misinformation. However, my friend Ian went one better than that. Hot-desks, as every Project Manager knows, are the place where you always get a duff network cable. Most people don’t bother phoning Facilities when the little barb snaps off their plug - they just swap their cable for the one on the free desk. Ian, being a regular hot-desker, kept finding one of these cables, and being a stickler for process, always phoned up and reported it.

By and by he got to be known to the system as a ‘regular’, and his incidents were collated and passed to Problem Management. Since they were all entered as ‘Network cable - plug broken’, someone came to a logical conclusion ... and Ian gets an email informing him he is booked for training on how to properly insert and withdraw network plugs. Ian has never actually broken a network plug himself in ten years.

Comments (3)

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  • 1
    Steve Boronski wrote on 6th Apr 2011

    Oh, we are all getting worse at this tragically, and it is leading to poorer and poorer customer service while organisations collect the statistics that "prove" they are getting better at it (service that is).

    Summed up by:
    Press 2 for a list of the ways technology has failed to improve our lives"

    Steve B.

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  • 2
    Stephen Preston wrote on 12th Apr 2011

    It's always easy to blame the person whose name is in the frame. Tracking down the real culprit takes time and doesn't look good on resolution stats, getting those calls closed is everything - unfortunately.
    Stephen Preston

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  • 3
    jsc42 wrote on 15th Jul 2011

    I once aquaplaned on an oily stretch of road and knocked off a traffic island bollard. I reported it to the council and they decided to charge an extremely large fine. When asked why it was so large, they admitted that the cost to fix it was minimal but that most people don't report these incidents, so they needed to reclaim the cost of dozens of earlier incidents from other road users who hadn't bothered reporting their mishaps.

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