Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Bah Humbug

So how is it, that with all the truly amazing technology we have today that puts the world literally at our fingertips, this time of year is still full of hassles and irritations for so many? And no, I am not referring to the annoying relatives, the stress of decking the halls only to have someone else's two year-old come and knock the tree over, or even the commercialization of a sacred time of year (though I hear you on those pains, believe me I do), but to the fact that with all even in the Internet age most people, myself included, still seem to be running, literally and figuratively, from point a to point b to get the thousand items on their to-do lists completed by Christmas (or substitute Hannukah or Kwanzaa).I do think the Web has done wonders to minimize the time shoppers spend in traffic and battle for parking spaces. And sure, there are always problems this time of year with overinflated expectations but what really bothers me is the sense I get that businesses are not harnessing the power technology gives them fully to serve there customers.

At the moment, I am having an incredibly frustrating experience with the company I ordered customized photo Christmas cards from that seems to have stopped the order without notifying me, a fact I only just learned two days ago after repeated phone calls to check on the status of the order. Nor can anyone seem to answer my pretty simple question of whether those cards have been printed are just sitting in some box waiting to be shipped or have yet to be printed. The answer I get, from the lovely people in customer service (who in this case are not offshore but rather in Oshkosh) is that the order is in the warehouse and it will take a day to hear back from them.

Where the heck is that warehouse? Mars, with no Internet access, no phones, no mail service.

So with the clock ticking down to the last possible minute I can send the cards with the smiling Santa and two adoring children on the front and still have even half of a prayer of having them make it to friends and relatives by the 24th, I still have no idea if these cards have been printed or will ever be printed. With that uncertainty and the countdown to Christmas reaching the zero hour, I am not sure what I will do but I can tell you this is my last time as a customer of this company.

And I can also tell you that there are some simple things the company could do to resolve this issue that are obviously not in place. This is another case of a business that has lacks effective communications procedures, and in the retail business, that can be a complete disaster. So all the best technology in the world really can't help a business that can't figure out how to communicate with its customers and how to facilitate communications with its employees.