Customer not well served



  • A few years back I was working for a large multinational company and a large part of my responsibilities revolved around the provision of wide area networking services to the company.

    One day an application developer comes to me and says he'd like to see how his client-server application performs when the user is accessing it from a different country.  The application is currently installed on a minicomputer right here in Brussels.

    So I tell him I can set up a loopback through one of our foreign offices so his comms will bounce off their site.

    Being observant he points out that that would involve two international hops and so would give an unfair portayal of the reponse of his app.

    Okay then, I suggest we can get a tame user in a foreign office to connect to his app in Brussels and tell us how it performs.  But that's no good because he really wants to see the performance for himself.

    Well then, we can send his application (on 3/4" mag tape) to a foreign site and get them to install it there.  He can connect from Brussels and see for himself how it performs.  That's not acceptable though because the foreign host might not have the same characteristics as our Brussels hosts.  And besides, it'd be a lot of hassle to get his app installed somewhere else.

    Well then he'll just have to go to a foreign site and logon from there to the Brussels host and see for himself how the app performs.  After all, Amsterdam is only a two hour drive away.  Well that's just ridiculous, he can't be expected to travel abroad just for a simple test like this.

    Now we've run up against the laws of topology.  If he wants exactly one international hop in the test scenario then he and the app are going to have to be in different countries.  And he's ruled out all those options.

    By now I'm starting to wonder why he's being so obstructive, maybe he has some other agenda.  I think I need to investigate a little and find out what he's really trying to achieve.  Office politics you know.

    So I tell him I'm going to have to get back to him on this one and he strolls away.

    My boss has been eavesdropping this whole conversation and after the developer wanders off he says to me "You know.  If I was the customer here, I don't think I'd feel that I'd been well served."



  • He's probably right.  Assuming, that is, that 'being well served' is not the same as 'getting exactly what I want.'  And I don't think it has to be.  Since the guy that came to you is technical, he'd understand if obstacles came up and you had to plan for it or something like that.  I'd almost bet that if you said "let me brain storm some more ideas and we'll see which one you like best" your boss probably wouldn't have said that. 

    Would YOU have actually done anything different after the guy left? No, because you're going to think about it and try and figure out a way to meet all the constraints.  Unfortunately, in situations like this, customer service isn't necessarily whether you get it working or not, but how you are perceived.

     All that being said, I probably would have reacted the same way you did :)

     

     



  •  Did he want a happy ending with that? I mean until we develop startrek-like teleportation were screwed.



  •  Your boss is right. You should have gone the extra mile and bend the laws of physics.



  • Clearly he just wanted a free trip to another country! And don't try that driving nonsense. He wanted to fly first class, be put up in a nice hotel in Paris, and get a per diem. Anything less is just not good enough.



  • @spike_tt said:

    So I tell him I can set up a loopback through one of our foreign offices so his comms will bounce off their site.
     

    Just throw a traffic shaper between a computer and the local network. You can then throttle the bandwidth, increase the latency or add packet loss. Since everything is configurable, you just need to come up with some sensible "profiles" -- easy enough, just ping sites in a few different countries and record the latency / packet loss.

    I don't know what tools there are for windows, but FreeBSD and Linux have decent support for traffic shaping. I wouldn't be surprised if there are commercial simulators as well. 

    Edit: First hit on google, a hardware device: http://www.packetstorm.com/

    Or for a software solution, grab a boot CD of m0n0wall: http://doc.m0n0.ch/handbook/trafficshaper.html 

     



  • @Nandurius said:

    Just throw a traffic shaper between a computer and the local network. You can then throttle the bandwidth, increase the latency or add packet loss. Since everything is configurable, you just need to come up with some sensible "profiles" -- easy enough, just ping sites in a few different countries and record the latency / packet loss.

    If I'd had a time machine that's exactly what I would have done.  That would have shaken up those peeps back in 1987 wouldn't it.  Unfortunately, at the time my options were actually kind of limited to those listed in the original post.



  • @spike_tt said:

    My boss has been eavesdropping this whole conversation and after the developer wanders off he says to me "You know.  If I was the customer here, I don't think I'd feel that I'd been well served."

     

    Next time he says a customer hasn't been well served, remind him that "To Serve Man" is a cookbook.



  • @Someone You Know said:

    Next time he says a customer hasn't been well served, remind him that "To Serve Man" is a cookbook.
    Twilight Zone FTW



  • @Nandurius said:

    @spike_tt said:

    So I tell him I can set up a loopback through one of our foreign offices so his comms will bounce off their site.
     

    Just throw a traffic shaper between a computer and the local network. You can then throttle the bandwidth, increase the latency or add packet loss. Since everything is configurable, you just need to come up with some sensible "profiles" -- easy enough, just ping sites in a few different countries and record the latency / packet loss.

    I don't know what tools there are for windows, but FreeBSD and Linux have decent support for traffic shaping. I wouldn't be surprised if there are commercial simulators as well. 

    Edit: First hit on google, a hardware device: http://www.packetstorm.com/

    Or for a software solution, grab a boot CD of m0n0wall: http://doc.m0n0.ch/handbook/trafficshaper.html 

     

    Yea! I mean who does not know about Traffic Shapers and all these tools that most people never even heard of? What kind of IT professional are you? When I say SATA you should be able to tell me all linux files associated with it's configuration! When I say COMPRESSION you should recite the source code for huffman encoding from memory, in binary!

    You seriously misstreated your customer good sir!



  • @dlikhten said:

    Yea! I mean who does not know about Traffic Shapers and all these tools that most people never even heard of? What kind of IT professional are you? When I say SATA you should be able to tell me all linux files associated with it's configuration! When I say COMPRESSION you should recite the source code for huffman encoding from memory, in binary!

    I get it. This is like reverse sarcasm or something? You say what you mean but you imply that you don't mean it, so that it's ironic because you do mean it but everyone thinks you don't mean it even though you said that you do-- Oh, crap. Now I've gone cross-eyed.



  • @spike_tt said:

    If I'd had a time machine that's exactly what I would have done.  That would have shaken up those peeps back in 1987 wouldn't it.  Unfortunately, at the time my options were actually kind of limited to those listed in the original post.

    Hang on, 1987 is not 'a few years back' in IT terms, more like 'many generations'. Now we understand the mysterious terms 'minicomputer' and 'mag tape'.



  • @dlikhten said:

    <sarcasm>
     

    Error: Post Parser: Missing closing tags.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @dlikhten said:

    <sarcasm>
     

    Error: Post Parser: Missing closing tags.

     

    Shit... and that was wired to the tazer infront of my computer! You sadist!



  • @dlikhten said:

    Shit... and that was wired to the tazer infront of my computer! You sadist!
     

    I wish!



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @dlikhten said:

    Shit... and that was wired to the tazer infront of my computer! You sadist!
     

    I wish!

     

    See i knew you were a sadist!

     

    Fix the forum software and firefox will let me spellcheck... 



  • @dlikhten said:

    Fix the forum software and firefox will let me spellcheck... 

    Don't taunt us with such fantastic dreams.



  • @dlikhten said:

    Fix the forum software and firefox will let me spellcheck... 
     

    Better idea: lern2english



  • @dlikhten said:

    Fix the forum software and firefox will let me spellcheck...

    Use the plain text editor and you can. Also, I doubt your consistent use of "caz" would fall under the generally accepted mistake of misspelling (i.e.: accidental).



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    @dlikhten said:
    Fix the forum software and firefox will let me spellcheck...

    Use the plain text editor and you can. Also, I doubt your consistent use of "caz" would fall under the generally accepted mistake of misspelling (i.e.: accidental).

    Just right-click in the field, and selct spell-check this field form the bottom of the context menu. You have to do this for each reply, though.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @dlikhten said:

    Fix the forum software and firefox will let me spellcheck... 
     

    Better idea: lern2english

     

    Man fucking spelling nazis, every forum has to have one.



  • @dlikhten said:

    Man fucking spelling nazis, every forum has to have one.
     

    Not like I would really care about being called a spelling nazi... but I think everyone has the same impression of you and the quality of some of your posts.

    Everyone is suggesting that you take the extra 5 seconds to read what you wrote before posting...

    So if that makes me a spelling nazi, then I guess I will wear that badge with pride.



  • @SenTree said:

    Now we understand the mysterious terms 'minicomputer' and 'mag tape'.

    And why two hops would give a noticeable latency ;)

    If I had been the testing dude, I would've used this as an excuse for an Amsterdam trip. Now isn't that "well-serving" the customer? :)



  •  What's the problem with spell check in firefox? Just right click and select "Spell check this field".  It's working for me right now, so you can't use the forum software as an excuse.



  • @Eternal Density said:

     What's the problem with spell check in firefox? Just right click and select "Spell check this field".  It's working for me right now, so you can't use the forum software as an excuse.

     

    a) Use the quote button, otherwise some people might not know to whom you are referring.

    b) Is this the first time you have read a dlikhten post? Everything that works for everyone else is broken for him. Move along here, nothing to see.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    a) Use the quote button...
    I nearly did but I had hoped the few people who cared would be able to look up three posts, since it has already been quoted several times in this thread.@MasterPlanSoftware said:
    b)
    Is this the first time you have read a dlikhten post?
    Funny.@MasterPlanSoftware said:
    Everything that
    works for everyone else is broken for him.
    This is why I pointed out that spell check can be manually enabled if one really wants to have it.  I really should know better though.

    Also, I have had to quote you manually.  It is amusing that you instruct people to quote and then make it impossible for them to easily quote you. 



  • @Eternal Density said:

    Also, I have had to quote you manually.  It is amusing that you instruct people to quote and then make it impossible for them to easily quote you. 
     

    Perhaps because I said everything required, and did not ask for a reply?



  • @dlikhten said:

    spelling nazis, every forum has to have one.
     

    It has nothing to do with spellinig nazis. It has to do with most of your posts being absolute gibberish and making no sense. If you want to communicate your thoughts, take the time to make them so people can read and understand them. If you don't want to communicate your thoughts, stop posting and wasting our time.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.