Your Company’s Biggest IT Failure

In the past few days, I have two poor customer experiences that should have been better ‘if only’.

If only these companies had unified systems. Even for something as simple as a Point-Of-Sale system.
Here were my experiences with disparate systems:

Last Friday I received a phone call from an automated system that my flight was cancelled. I called the customer help desk and the woman on the other end assured me that no, my flight hadn’t been cancelled. I should continue with my planned flight.
While on the phone, an automated system had re-scheduled me to different flights, all while the woman from customer service told me nothing had changed. Her system hadn’t updated yet with the information I was getting by her companies automated systems. How can this be? Two separate systems, designed to interact with customers, have different stories to tell? How do you think this affects customer confidence? How about loyalty?

Next up was a simple retail purchase. I received a mailer from a retailer that advertised an item I thought was a good price, and a good addition to the family New Year’s Celebration. I went to the store, took the item to the checkout, and it rang up for $20 more than expected. Poor customer service aside, I had to take out my phone and show the cashier that I could buy it online for store pickup at the price the mailer advertised. Think about that. If I get a different price on a company’s website than I do in their store, imagine how confusing that is for everyone involved. Again, how can this be? I know the systems for this retailer are connected in some ways (inventory is tracked online, and after my purchase, the number available went down by one) but not by price?

Linking disparate systems is a constant struggle with companies as their data needs grow, change, and evolve. But this is the main area where IT can provide efficiency, cost savings, and a better customer experience. Making sure your customers hear a single story from your company shows strength.

Be strong, link your systems.