Saturday, December 23, 2006

Tell people something...!

I'm still at home in London, having been supposed to be flying out with my wife to Geneva on Thursday to visit her mother for Christmas. Personally, I blame the fog! But, seriously, I have been fairly unimpressed with the airline and airport integrated communications systems: airport sites held rudimentary messages pointing you to airline sites for more information, unfortunately, Swiss (International Air) with whom we were flying had not a single message about the fog-related cancellations on its site: no information as to whether to turn up to the airport or not, whether flights would be cancelled or not... OK, so move to the telephone - where none of the numbers listed appear to be in working order. So we rang numbers in Switzerland, but could not get through - in the end we were lucky, and managed to get in contact with the airline first thing the next morning - but what I am wondering is "why make it so difficult to let your customers know what is going on?". There was chaos at Heathrow, and I'm sure some of this is down to the fact that people HAD to turn up to the airport to even get close to speaking to someone or finding out what was going on. In our case, in the end, Swiss were as helpful as one could expect given the circumstances and time of year, but only once we had jumped through hoops to get in touch with them. So, where next, customer service?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What do you actually use...?

I'm an inveterate fiddler with online tools - I sign up for betas when I can, and have a fiddle and a play, and - to be honest - a number of online applications have worked their way into my everyday way of working. Some of these I've mentioned on my blog, and others I just get on with and use.

Just recently, I've been thinking that I ought to review all the social software and online applications to which I am signed up, and figure out which I am using now that I could replace with improvements, which tools I could have been using but have neglected to do so in any coherent way, and which tools I can just do without - no matter how cool. I'd then like to work out what the unifying themes are with these tools, why and how I actually use them and the benefits they deliver to me.

I suppose a very quick shortlist includes Basecamp, Gmail, Google analytics, Blogger, delicious, and bloglines, but there are ithers - such as PageFlakes - which I use more irregularly, but could see myself using more if I get myself into gear. If anyone else has engaged in a similar review, I'd be interested in hearing the results.