Using technology to solve problems?

I just received a call from a friendly woman from Aliant offering me some sort of feature that would let me put my home phone, high-speed Internet and cell phone all on one bill for $99 a month.

Now here’s the thing: I do have a cell phone, and I do have high-speed Internet, but they’re not attached to the number she phoned, they’re part of the business, and are attached to the business’ telephone line. And this “combined and all on one bill” feature is residential only.

Isn’t the promise of technology that people who call us to sell us things should already know what they’ve sold us before, and what we might be interested in, so that the calls are helpful and targetted rather than random and annoying?

I have only to assume that Aliant can figure out which phone lines run where, and who they’re billed to; why not use that information to make outcalling telemarketer’s smarter, rather than forcing them to reveal their ignorance, as my caller today did when she said “oh, so you don’t have high speed Internet on this bill?”

Free tip for Aliant: if you use technology in your own business, people will be impressed, and will look to you for their technology needs, and your whole company will profit.


Alan's picture
Alan on January 24, 2003 - 19:12 Permalink

Maybe now that they are ditching their IT wizards at Xwave they will have more time to think about how to use technology for basic problem solving.

Ken's picture
Ken on January 25, 2003 - 02:26 Permalink

When I worked at Aliant (MT&T) there were so many databases that were on different platforms — some where on the corporate LAN, some where on the AS400, some where standalone — that was six years ago. At one point we spent six months printing data from one system on the LAN, then having it typed by keyboard into the new database on the AS400 (four summer students did most of it).
So, unless they have got it all together they are probably still using isolated databases that are too expensive to abandon and unable to be used in concert together to provide the kind of accurate, streamlined picture you would need to know all about one customer or location.
Just be glad the 911 database works! (after great expense)

Joey Brieno's picture
Joey Brieno on January 25, 2003 - 03:26 Permalink

Wow! Ken, your typing story really explaines something to me. I always thought there was a choice only between incompetent on one hand and deliberately malicious on the other when stunningly unnecessary and painfully expensive cockups would take place. Now I understand there really was another option all along, that being, “no brain, no pain”. They just didn’t understand what the problem was.

Ken's picture
Ken on January 25, 2003 - 15:57 Permalink

You know that story about the elephant and the blind men? One thinks by touching his leg it’s a pillar, the other thinks it’s a wall, another thinks by it’s tail it is a piece of rope…
The blind men are the executives, the elephant is Aliant!
That clerk Peter spoke to works for one of those departments, and can only see Residential Services!
BTW, I only want to demystify — not defend Ma Bell.

Joey Brieno's picture
Joey Brieno on January 25, 2003 - 19:39 Permalink

Ken, sounds like you’re a straight shooter. Aliant would be well served if you were still inside I should think — however, that may present a problem with the elephant who’s attempting a disguise as a cheetah.