Communication lets me down…

…and I’m left here (with apologies to Spandau Ballet).

It seems like everyone and his dog has a cellphone these days. The morning drive to work is replete with drivers burbling away while driving with one hand; while on the sidewalk (pavement, if you are in England) teenagers yak happily about whatever vapid thought is filling their heads at that particular moment.

You would have thought that this constant communication would find its way into the businesses and industries where it might do some good… but you would be wrong.

For example, Rolls-Royce’s jet engines have the ability to relay diagnostic equipment from anywhere in the world. So if an engine develops a fault, there is a fairly good chance that a technician with the requisite parts will be waiting when the plane lands. This is a really cool thing…

…but…

…all that technology and communication will not help you if you are a passenger on said airliner; getting accurate arrival or departure information is like pulling teeth. This is surprising, since the Airline knows exactly where the plane is and how fast it is traveling.

After recently dropping my Mother-in-Law at the airport, I called my sister-in-law at the destination to let them know that she was on her way. I knew the flight had left late, as the passengers were still boarding at the scheduled take-off time. The information boards in the airport, however, did not mention this, and when I phoned the Airline, their automated system did not know either. It was not until I bullied my way through to a real person and they did a little digging that this little gem of information was finally unearthed. My theory is that if they don’t actually admit that the flight was late, then it wasn’t…

Another example is the delivery business. A delivery driver usually knows his route, he knows roughly how long it will take and when he will arrive at each stop. But that information is rarely communicated to those awaiting deliveries; even something as simple as calling ahead is apparently too much to ask.

The life of a cable guy is simple enough. Go to address A, fix that which needs fixing. Go to address B, fix that which needs fixing. Lather, rinse and repeat; you get the picture. These people are not amateurs – the dispatcher knows the routes, and if their business has a clue, they know where everybody is at any given time. And yet the cable company still insists on a four-hour window, which means that you, the customer, has to take half a day – or even a whole one – off.

Today my car broke down. I was at work. I called the towing company, and they said that they would call me on my Cell when they got here. Naturally, they didn’t. Fortunately I was watching out for them when they got here.

Why is this so hard?

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