February 8, 2006

Releases, bugs and other stuff ….

I released the next beta of WriteTrack yesterday. I’d been working to get the features sorted out for the last couple of days and I was finally satisfied enough with it to do a release. There was one major feature outstanding when I did the last beta – the ability to track income and expenses on your writing projects. I got that sorted out and I also fixed a lot of minor usability issues since I’ve been actively using it during the last couple of days to transfer over all my old tracked submissions from the Excel spreadsheet I was using into WriteTrack. It’s only when you use something that you figure out what doesn’t work and what can be improved :) I still want a few minor features added to the app but I think it is more or less ready for a 1.0 release as long as nobody finds any major bugs in this beta.

Speaking of bugs, there has been a bug which has been irritating me in a major way and unfortunately, it’s not something that I can fix. The bug is with my banking system :p My bank is HSBC and they are probably one of the bigger banks in Sri Lanka, what with being an international bank and all. They have an Internet banking service where I can check balances, do transfers, pay bills etc and I find this very useful since I don’t leave the house much. I usually pay my rent via the Internet banking system but at the end of last month when I tried to make my usual transfer (the same transfer that I’d done for six months before) I was presented with an error message.

I call their customer support service and a Customer Support Rep (CSR) takes down the details of the issue and promises that they’ll call back the next day to let me know the resolution. The next day comes and goes, no call. I try the system again, it still doesn’t work. So I call them again. The same CSR takes the call, says that she’ll talk to the relevant people and they’ll get back to me and the next day comes, nothing again and the system still does not work. I call again. A different CSR this time and she says that the Internet banking department looked at it, that the problem wasn’t in their department and that it has been escalated to networking and that they’d "definitely" get back to me the next day.

We were out most of the day the next day but I didn’t get a call on my mobile nor were there any messages on the answering machine when we got back. It was too late to call by then and it being Friday, I couldn’t do anything over the weekend either. I call on Monday and get another CSR, I tell her the issue and tell her that I had not heard anything from them after repeated promises of calls. She escalates it to a "senior colleague" who is courteous and says she understands and that the matter will be dealt with and that I’d hear from them before 5 o’clock. True to her word, she does call back around 3 o’clock and says that it looks like a technical issue at their end and that it has been escalated to IT and that I’ll hear from them by the next day, which was yesterday.

End of day yesterday, still nothing from HSBC. I try the system again in the hope that they fixed it but didn’t call me. It still doesn’t work. So I call their support line and ask for a manager. I get to a manager explain the situation to her and tell her that I find this rather unacceptable. She makes soothing noises, says that she understands and that I’ll hear back from them the next day – today. I’m hoping that they’ll prove me wrong and fix the issue and call me to say that they did it. But given the track record so far, I’m not taking any bets on it.

I do have two questions though – is it so hard to keep a customer informed if you are taking a long time to resolve the issue? I work in customer support, I know it’s not easy for the CSRs to do this and I don’t expect them to. But if the issue is escalated, shouldn’t whoever it was escalated to take the time to let the customer know? My second question is, what the heck is their IT department doing? It shouldn’t take them over a week to fix a simple issue like this, should it? Come on, even without knowing anything about their system, I think I can fix it within a day :p Ah well, such is life in Sri Lanka …

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Tags: Coding, Real Life, Software
Posted by Fahim at 7:42 am   Comments (0)