So I pick up the phone and dial the helpline advertised.
‘Due to the large number of calls we are receiving in response to the floods, there is a long queue for this service. We advise using our online service at www. blah blah blah.’
So I check out the website. ‘Due to the severe weather, there are delays to many of our services’.
That’s all. No detail about exactly which part of the service, or where, or for how long, is affected. No ‘we’re sorry to say…’ or ‘we’re doing all we can to fix matters so leave us your address so we can let you know as soon as we have more detailed info’.
OK, so I don’t expect an apology for an Act of God. But I need detail, facts, information I can use to plan with, rather than just a reiteration of the blindingly obvious.
After all, this is 2014, and it’s called the ’information superhighway’. Yet it’s anything but. It’s the ‘disinformation byway’. There’s a severe case of information underload going on, no doubt driven by those who don’t want to open themselves up to accusations of providing inaccurate or misleading information.
It’s a real shame because the internet has been hailed as the medium which brings transparency to the fore. We’re in the age where everything is open and shared; where we consumers are treated as people who deserve to know, and should be given their information freely and willingly, rather than like in the bad old days of hiding behind some impenetrable automated telephone answering service.
Unless the web is used in this way, it will go the same way as those call centres: unloved, distrusted, to be used in desperation only when all else has failed. We’ll all have to find an alternative.
I guess this is what happens when the litigation averse, politically correct gain the upper hand in what was, at first, the domain of the enthusiast who wanted to make the world a better place.
And we are all the poorer for it.
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