My wife travels a lot for her job. While she's no Paul Randal, she does rack up over 50,000 miles each year. Recently she told me of a strange experience when she arrived at one of the airline kiosks. She searched for her ticket using her name, which is fairly unique and the result set that came back had her traveling to a different city. It seemed that there was some type of bug in the system since with her name we would expect that there would be few additional results besides her own, but that her trip would have come up. It wouldn't be surprising with "Steve Jones", but it is for her.
It's not a big deal, but it did bring up an interesting issue. How would she feed that information back to the developers at the airline? After all, every time an automated system doesn't work, it could result in various levels of cost to the company. An agent helping someone can't help others, and customer service goes down, or staffing up. It could result in delays, which might cause problems with flights as passengers are late getting from check-in to the gate. It could be hard to quantify the cost, but there is likely some cost.
So how could you let IT know? You could call customer service, but I have a hard time thinking that a low-wage CS person would pass this along to the IT group. And if they did, would it make sense? Would someone be able to follow up and have enough details to contact the reporting individual?
It makes me think that companies should ensure that they have a great feedback mechanism for their infrastructure, even if they aren't IT focused. Something that is equivalent to the webmaster for web sites, but is a better link into their bug tracking/reporting systems. Even something that might be triaged by technical people in some way. Microsoft does a great job of this with their Connect system and I think that would be an interesting model for other companies as well.
As we use more and technology to interact with our customers and clients, getting feedback about bugs can be just as important as having a customer service person there to handle the immediate issue. It might result in the need for fewer customer service people in the future if you can catch those bugs and problems early.
The Voice of the DBA Podcasts
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Today's podcast features music by Everyday Jones. No relation, but I stumbled on to them and really like the music. Support this great duo at www.everydayjones.com.
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