How Poor Deployment Affects the Customer: A Personal Tale

I just had a recent experience with my taxi company. Last week I made an appointment for a taxi to take me to the airport on my way to Las Vegas for the CTIA show. I've used this cab company for nearly two years and they have consistently delighted me by showing up at my door five minutes early. The one time they were running late--because the driver got a bit lost--they called to tell me he was on his way.

Well, on this occasion they were 10 minutes late. I called the dispatcher, who informed me there were no cabs in my area but they could get someone there in 10 or 15 minutes--if I still wanted one. After missing my flight, I called to speak to a manager who told me that their new computer system had failed to process half the reservations that morning. I'm not sure which part(s) of the mobile solution deployment went awry, but it seems to me that they couldn't have had a solid pilot; certainly their rollout had to be deemed a failure.

I will give the owner's assistant--he wasn't in--credit for trying to appease the customer. She explained the problem, offered no excuses, apologized profusely, said she hoped it wouldn't lead me to abandon use of their services and asked for my address so she could mail me discount vouchers for future trips. They may have screwed up the mobile solution, but at least they got the customer service right--and it did immediately start to make me feel better. I do, however, plan to follow up and try to get more information on how they went about implementing their new system.

For those of you who also receive the TrendSpotter newsletter, you'll know all too well my recent problems with my freezer/refrigerator. (By the way, my new one finally arrived last weekend and I love it.) All I can say is I'm tired of being first-person fodder for my columns. But it just goes to show you that your actions--and the systems you use--on the job really do affect the customer. So please implement your solutions carefully.

stacey Bell, who wrote this month's Top story, stressed the following points regarding deploying a mobile solution. It's definitely something to keep in mind.

•Develop a detailed plan that includes the goals of your wireless implementation and illustrates whom it will affect and how.

•Analyze the technologies that are available that might help you reach those goals rather than jumping to the first thing that looks cool or that worked for another company.

•Evaluate how the changes might affect your company culture; be selective about your vendor--it should be familiar with the compatibility of your chosen software and hardware.

•Train everyone who will be in any way affected by the implementation.

•Run a complete pilot program with everything in place before you slowly roll out your new system.

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