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Customer Service in the age of the Internet

Michael Morris
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 30, 2002
Posts: 3451
Yesterday, I was going to purchase an exam voucher for the SCWCD from Sun Educational Services. So I went to the site, and fumbled thru until I finally found the contact page. I really didn't want to purchace it online since I had some questions. Well guess what? Once I dialed and went thru the convoluted menu and found purchasing an exam voucher, I got a recording advising me to go to the web site to do so! OK, so I relent. To make a long story short, I spent the next hour or so trying to authenticate myself (I have two other certifications for goodness sakes) but since I just recently moved to San Antonio, I wasn't sure what phone number, what email etc. Finally I found the "when all else fails" email address to try and get them to send me the authentication info. Here is what I sent in the opening paragraph:
Before proceeding, let me vent a little frustration. It doesn't say much for Java and J2EE technologies when its inventors can't even make a web site work. Maybe Sun should seriously consider open sourcing all Java as IBM has proposed and let more capable hands steer its direction. Further, I have always ordered certification vouchers over the phone and left with a good feeling about Sun Educational Services as you had always provided very friendly and knowledgeable representatives. I could always ask questions about the certifications and get the answers right away. You've made a big mistake forcing Java professionals to order vouchers online with a web site that doesn't work half the time.
Well, five minutes after pressing the send button, I get a call from one of those friendly Sun Educational Customer Service reps who answered all my questions and got me fixed up. Now, why did I have to jump thru hoops for that to speak to a human? Sun didn't save a dime, as a matter of fact it probably cost them more. I can't disparage the Internet too much because it provides me with a job, but I think some companies are going to lose a lot of business to competitors that still do things the old fashioned way. I know I have changed internet and phone carriers just for this reason. It all seems Penny wise, pound poor to me.


Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. - Ernst F. Schumacher
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

I know what you mean. My Cell Phone provider is so "Internet Happy" it makes me mad too. I had some questions concerning my roaming area so I went online to look at my coverage map which was vague to say the least.
So I tried to call but being that it was around Christmas the recording told me my wait was around 45 minutes. Yeah, I have that much time to be on hold. So, as you, I relented and went back to the internet. I was happy to find that I could chat to a rep live online. So I went through that little process and got someone on the other end of a chat window.
I asked him my questions and all he did was point me to links on the web site where he said I could find the information (which was wrong anyway). I proceeded to ask him why they provide a service that doesn't really provide a service. He informed me that the only reason they have live web chat is to help navigate people around the web site.
A good web site designer could have done this in a day by making the web page intuitive for users. Thus negating the online chat.
As a resolve I resorted to a message board where I found a million people asking the same questions I had and getting answers.


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John Smith
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Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
MM: It doesn't say much for Java and J2EE technologies when its inventors can't even make a web site work.
A few days ago, our team was doing the regular packaging of our app, and it failed unexpectedly with a "connection refused". It turned out that our deployment descriptors referenced EJB DTDs as URLs, and the entire java.sun.com domain where these descriptors are stored was down, for pretty much the entire day. Add to that the fact that Sun Microsystems has not been profitable since 2001, and it looks pretty grim, indeed.
Michael Morris
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 30, 2002
Posts: 3451
Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
MM: It doesn't say much for Java and J2EE technologies when its inventors can't even make a web site work.
A few days ago, our team was doing the regular packaging of our app, and it failed unexpectedly with a "connection refused". It turned out that our deployment descriptors referenced EJB DTDs as URLs, and the entire java.sun.com domain where these descriptors are stored was down, for pretty much the entire day. Add to that the fact that Sun Microsystems has not been profitable since 2001, and it looks pretty grim, indeed.

When Sun was redesigning their site a few months back, I was "randomly" selected to navigate the site and fill out a survey. Hell I couldn't figure anything out about it! I finally just gave up and closed the window and then went back and used search until I found what I was looking for to begin with. A couple of weeks back, I need to look at the Core API at work (which I have bookmarked) and the damn thing was down all day. If you try to download the Servlet or JSP Specs, half the time you are sent to a dead page. We experience similar problems at USAA, but there are backups and we are usually up and running again if a portion of the site fails within an hour or so. I have been leary about open sourcing Java in the past because I think IBM wants it to happen for their own profit, but I'm beginning to believe that Sun has some serious issues and may not be around much longer.
Tony Alicea
Desperado
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 3222
    
    5
Been there, Michael, more than once. SO.. I opted to download to the local hard drive all that info.
It seldom (if ever) gets updated. Heck; I have followed misspellings from the Java 1.2 Javadoc until now in some class Javadocs.
Makes me think how often they look at it.
Probably never. They just add the new API docs and leave the old docs alone.
 
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