Thursday 24 August 2017

Too many customers

Yet another company has too many customers.

Every three months, I have to get an outside computer to scan my network for security issues, in order to be compliant with the PCIDSS, which you have to be in order to accept and process credit cards. So on August 18, I put in the request for a scan.

I happen to know how this works - they run a program like Nessus which checks for known issues. It takes a few minutes to run, and it's entirely automated.

As of August 24, my request is still in the queue, waiting patiently for its turn. So I contacted Saferpayments using the online chat. The person chatting with me told me that I'd get an email when it's finished. I already knew that. I asked what the problem is; apparently this is caused by there being a "heavier than expected workflow", meaning "we have too many customers".

So I called Worldpay to complain. After navigating through an annoying menu system, and listening to "your call is important to us" for several minutes, I got through to a human. He listened to what I had to say, and told me that I needed to talk to Saferpayments, and he's transfer me. "Before you do, what's their number?" I've been here before. The call transfer resulted in several minutes of complete silence, so I hung up and dialled the number he gave me, which was Saferpayments. So there was another annoying menu system, and more hold (in which I was told repeatedly that the queue was 3 minutes and 42 seconds long, which didn't fool me at all because I know that there is no way they can know how long the ongoing calls are going to take, and then suddenly I went from 3 minutes 42 seconds, to talking to a human, hurrah. Who listened to my story, and told me that I was talking to the wrong people, and I needed to talk to someone at Worldpay, and he gave me the number that I had called in the first place.

So I explained this to him, and that I was unwilling to be tossed back and forth between them like a tennis ball, and what I want is for Saferpayments and Worldpay to get their heads together, fight it out over who I ought to be talking to, and then call me back with that information. He agreed.

You'll have guessed by now, and if you've had any experience of these jobsworths, that no such phone call came back to me.

So I called back the next day, to Worldpay. I fumed my way through the menus and hold music, and spoke to a different person - you never get to talk to the same person twice. This time there was a new treat in store for me; after several minutes carefully explainng the problem the line went dead. So I called back again, getting yet another person, and now I had two complaints. The dead line, and the sluggish scanning system.

More menus. More hold music. The security questions yet again. And then I explained that I wasn't asking for any information, because I knew he didn't have any for me. Or any action, because I knew there was nothing he could do. My objective now was to explain to Worldpay that I entirely understood and sympathised with their problem of having two many customers, and I have two proposals that might help.

The first would be to reduce their customer load by one. I explained that if I had a customer who asked me for some important (important to them, because I knew that my servers were secure, it was Worldpay who required the scan) service, and after six days I hadn't even started  to provide it, then I too would be facing life with one fewer customer.

The other suggestion I had, was equally simple. These scans are done by a computer, and are entirely automated. My ingenious proposal to Worldpay, was that they should purchase a secnd computer, thus, for an outlay of a mere couple of thousand pounds, doubling their capacity to do scans, and creating the capacity to be able to handle the number of custmers that they had. I didn't bother to explain that they could even enlarge on this idea by purchasing a third computer, because obviously the notion of a second computer hadn't occurred to them, and would take considerable time to get budget approval and work its way through the manifold committees that comprise Worldpay.

"Actually, it's Saferpayments that do the scanning," he said. "Yes," I said, "now that you've pointed this out I can see that my proposal was naive and stupid. Hmm. If only there were some way to modify my idea so that it could indeed prevent the embarassment of having to admit that you have too many customers."

My complaint is now lodged with Worldpay, and I can expect that some time within the next several weeks, I'll get an email which will consist of several paragraphs that, in summary, will boil down to the words "go away".

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