Improved until it breaks

Further to my recent post about people selling us stuff then progressively breaking it for us, I have two more recent examples.

1). Trying to install the second maintenance release of IOS 8, itself barely a week old, I tried to do it over the air on my iPad. With everything downloaded, I set it going updating. Three hours later it was just looping round, showing an apple for about a minute, then rebooting. Only by doing a factory reset could it be forced into recovery mode, after which iTunes on the Mac had to download the update (2Gb!) and apply it. Then I restored the most recent backup and everything was back where I left it. What happened to “It just works?”

2). BT have been sending me emails for a couple of weeks to say that they were upgrading BT Mail and it would all be very lovely. I was also told I didn’t need to do anything, it would all be seamless and painless. This morning BT mail stopped completely. On their website BT acknowledge the problem and tell users if they want detailed updates… they should telephone a BT helpline. No really, not go to a web page they will be continually updating, ring them up. They are the UK’s biggest broadband provider and each subscriber gets up to five free email accounts. That’s a lot of users to annoy with this level of incompetence and cack-handed customer relations.

It is quite clear in both cases that the companies involved don’t care enough about their customers to get things right, and that in neither company is anyone going to be sacked for their incompetence, for if either were untrue, it wouldn’t have happened.

Perhaps both companies have a senior management level all of the age where they were reared on Tom Peters and his “If it ain’t broke, break it” mantra. If so perhaps they should study the track records of those “Truly Exceptional” companies he wrote about (Spoiler: they were all truly exceptionally bad at making money and staying in business).

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