Customer complaints solved fast and cheap way



  • Friend of mine, let´s call him Zenon, is in charge of hardware support (the real name of his department is too misleading to write it here…or anywhere) for customers of our medium sized, machinery producing factory.

    Basically it boils down to unencrypt customer´s rambling in several european languages, identify defective component, obtain replacement component, make sure the replacement is shipped fast. Ten to twenty times a day. Downtimes must not exceed 3 days, otherwise the civilisation, as we know it, ends. So Zenon works under constant time stress. Copes well with it so far.


    I helped him to create a simple app to keep track of every complaint. Absolute no problem with it, just from starters it flagged a few inputs as ,,possible mistakes in delivery address“. Basically it found some disproportions between ,,travel time“ and ,,distance“. We looked it up and Zenon just sighed ,,No mistakes, unfortunatelly. I´ll explain“.
    It turned out, that most of components we use, comes from a solid German company, let´s call it I.G.Sauerkreutzen GmbH, residing in Leberwurstrasse 11, Berlin. We mount these components into our products and sell those products to our customers, biggest of which happens to be I.G.Sauerkreutzen GmbH, Leberwurstrasse 11, Berlin. No WTF so far.

    But then a product fails and the complaint is made. Our company is bound to provide a replacement. We buy it from I.G.Sauerkreutzen GmbH, and have it shipped here, to another country. Not too far, true, but still approx. 4 times the range of SCUD missile.
    Do not know why, but when it comes to Germany, Zenon tends to measure every distance in SCUD ranges.
    And then we ship it to our customer, to I.G.Sauerkreutzen GmbH in Berlin. Without unpacking, only with new label on the box.

     

    I asked WTF they do not send it just from storage across the parking lot to their workshop. Zenon explained that according to contract the replacement must be delivered by our company, and that because of some tax laws, namely VAT laws, the product must cross the state border before delivering, because we do not have the branch in Germany. Zenon tried several times argue with our law/finance consultants, but to no avail. Now I am first one to admit, that tax laws must be taken seriously, but…WTF? Or not?

     

    MOD EDIT: Added the linebreaks. 



  • Try using the enter key sometime - it makes things easier to read.



  •  @TheDude said:

    Try using the enter key sometime - it makes things easier to read.

    Even without any linebreaks, this was a great read. The SCUD missiles (apparently anything between 150km - 700km) unit of measurement is a nice touch.



  •  So they buy their on parts from you? And only the shipping to and from you is a WTF?



  • @George Nacht said:

    Friend of mine, let´s call him Zenon, is in charge of hardware support (the real name of his department is too misleading to write it here…or anywhere) for customers of our medium sized, machinery producing factory. Basically it boils down to unencrypt customer´s rambling in several european languages, identify defective component, obtain replacement component, make sure the replacement is shipped fast. Ten to twenty times a day. Downtimes must not exceed 3 days, otherwise the civilisation, as we know it, ends. So Zenon works under constant time stress. Copes well with it so far.
    I helped him to create a simple app to keep track of every complaint. Absolute no problem with it, just from starters it flagged a few inputs as ,,possible mistakes in delivery address“. Basically it found some disproportions between ,,travel time“ and ,,distance“. We looked it up and Zenon just sighed ,,No mistakes, unfortunatelly. I´ll explain“.


    It turned out, that most of components we use, comes from a solid German company, let´s call it I.G.Sauerkreutzen GmbH, residing in Leberwurstrasse 11, Berlin. We mount these components into our products and sell those products to our customers, biggest of which happens to be I.G.Sauerkreutzen GmbH, Leberwurstrasse 11, Berlin. No WTF so far.


    But then a product fails and the complaint is made. Our company is bound to provide a replacement. We buy it from I.G.Sauerkreutzen GmbH, and have it shipped here, to another country. Not too far, true, but still approx. 4 times the range of SCUD missile.


    Do not know why, but when it comes to Germany, Zenon tends to measure every distance in SCUD ranges.


    And then we ship it to our customer, to I.G.Sauerkreutzen GmbH in Berlin. Without unpacking, only with new label on the box.


    I asked WTF they do not send it just from storage across the parking lot to their workshop. Zenon explained that according to contract the replacement must be delivered by our company, and that because of some tax laws, namely VAT laws, the product must cross the state border before delivering, because we do not have the branch in Germany. Zenon tried several times argue with our law/finance consultants, but to no avail.


    Now I am first one to admit, that tax laws must be taken seriously, but…WTF?


    Or not?

    Restored your original paragraphs (yeah, the editor is teh WTF).


    @George Nacht said:

    residing in Leberwurstrasse 11, Berlin

    Hmm, Leberwurst... I LOVE Leberwurst!


    Damn, Google says that Berlin doesn't have a Leberwurststraße (and so doesn't the rest of the world)... already considered moving there! ;)


    I also like how Zenon prefers to measure distances in SCUD ranges, when it comes to Germany. I live approx. 2 SCUD ranges from Berlin...



  • @derula said:

    (yeah, the editor is teh WTF).
    The great thing about FCK (the editor), is it fails gracefully on browsers that it doesn't work in, and just leaves the underlying textbox as is.

    The lame thing is, community server doesn't account for this failure mode, and just assumes that whatever it gets from FCK is HTML.  Ideally, it really oughta check to see if what it got from FCK looks like HTML -- if it's just raw text, then it really oughta replace newlines with <br> tags.

     

    The editor fails gracefully.  Community server does not. 



  • @merreborn said:

    The lame thing is, community server doesn't account for this failure mode, and just assumes that whatever it gets from FCK is HTML.  Ideally, it really oughta check to see if what it got from FCK looks like HTML -- if it's just raw text, then it really oughta replace newlines with <br> tags.

     

    The editor fails gracefully.  Community server does not.

    The editor is TinyMCE, not FCK.  I also don't see why Community Server should convert from plain text to HTML for you. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    The editor is TinyMCE, not FCK.  I also don't see why Community Server should convert from plain text to HTML for you. 
     

     

    Because, usually, that's what a forum software is supposed to do. Even if my browser is not capable of displaying TinyMCE. Inserting new lines without HTML knowledge even worked in good old UBB ("Ultimate Bulletin Board") approx. 7 years ago.

    Also, Community Server shouldn't delete 2 characters when I hit backspace once. It's funny, because just now as I typed it out, it stopped doing so.



  • @Juifeng said:

    Because, usually, that's what a forum software is supposed to do.
     

    And it does, if you use the proper editor like the rest of us.

    @Juifeng said:

    Also, Community Server shouldn't delete 2 characters when I hit backspace once. It's funny, because just now as I typed it out, it stopped doing so.

    This is a quirk, but it is hardly something to waste time complaining about.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @Juifeng said:

    Also, Community Server shouldn't delete 2 characters when I hit backspace once. It's funny, because just now as I typed it out, it stopped doing so.

    This is a quirk, but it is hardly something to waste time complaining about.

    I've never seen this behavior before.  I hear people complaining about it all the time, but I've never had it happen to me. 



  • @merreborn said:

    The lame thing is, community server doesn't account for this failure mode, and just assumes that whatever it gets from FCK is HTML.

    And the really lame thing is that the CS upgrade a while ago broke the editor in Opera for me, but apparently not for some others. I don't even want to know how that's possible.



  • Great story, sadly only too common. Just an extreme case of the sort of thing that happens on a daily basis all over the world; just think, for example, of the number of companies that post out payslips and correspondence to their workforce when a goodly number live nearby and (potentially) the mail is going out of town to the nearest sorting office and coming all the way back in to be delivered.

    But of course it doesn't make economic or practical sense to do it any other way.

    I'm not saying your story isn't a WTF, but if a system works well for 95% of cases, and is inefficient for 5% (but still works), is it always right to introduce an exception?

    PS I also love the SCUD distance measurement!



  •  This is surprisingly common in Europe. There are probably all sorts of tax loopholes and benefits to be gained from buying your own parts from a supplier instead of direct from your own warehouse.

     Not least because of VAT. In the EU, the VAT payable on a product is the VAT of the country of origin. So let's say the factory is located in Country A, where the VAT is 25%, and the supplier is in country B, where the VAT is 12.5%. 

    So the supplier buys the products at a VAT rate of 25% and sells them back to the company at a VAT rate of 12.5%. Of course, the financial niceties get involved here somewhere. Theoretically both companies can claim back all of the VAT they pay, but I imagine there's some benefit for the manufacturer. I'm not an accountant.

     



  • @seamustheseagull said:

    So let's say the factory is located in Country A, where the VAT is 25%, and the supplier is in country B, where the VAT is 12.5%. 

    So the supplier buys the products at a VAT rate of 25% and sells them back to the company at a VAT rate of 12.5%. Of course, the financial niceties get involved here somewhere. Theoretically both companies can claim back all of the VAT they pay, but I imagine there's some benefit for the manufacturer. I'm not an accountant.

     

    As long as everybody pays the VAT to the tax office, there is no benefit for anybody. To get a benefit, like the bad guys do, one of the company deducts the input VAT, and the other one, which has to pay the VAT to the tax office, goes bankrupt (or finds another way to evade tax).



  • @merreborn said:

    The editor fails gracefully.  Community server does not. 
     

    Despite the fact you incorrectly identified the editor as FCK (it's TinyMCE), how is it Community Server's fault that you choose to use a crappy browser?

    In this case, merreborn fails (not so gracefully). Community server does not. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @Juifeng said:

    Also, Community Server shouldn't delete 2 characters when I hit backspace once. It's funny, because just now as I typed it out, it stopped doing so.

    This is a quirk, but it is hardly something to waste time complaining about.

    I've never seen this behavior before.  I hear people complaining about it all the time, but I've never had it happen to me. 

     

    I see it all the time. I've never mentioned it, because as MPS says it's not worth wasting time over. It's not like I write code in TinyMCE all day; it's a friggin' forum post being written. How is griping about the editor's behavior worth anything? 



  • @KenW said:

    I see it all the time. I've never mentioned it, because as MPS says it's not worth wasting time over. It's not like I write code in TinyMCE all day; it's a friggin' forum post being written. How is griping about the editor's behavior worth anything? 

    Not griping, but when someone posts wads of text due to TinyMCE not loading (it doesn't load, the 'tinyMCE' not defined gives it away) usually leads to a handful of users berating "get a real browser", "learn to use the forum software", or outright denying that f'n CS is just failing to work correctly. And, as you said, we don't pound code/text all day on TinyMCE/TDWTF.

    Anyway ... I don't see why CS can't manage a "fail-safe" operation method, where if the editor fails to load, you can input raw text to be HTML-ified later. Even Microsoft did it with MSN Spaces; I was able to post sensible stuff even when using non-IE browsers.



  • I've seen the editor crap out if it takes too long to load (usually happens when I dial in from my cell phone). Still, its one of the few things that is fairly decent about CS, although the forum software is still a WTF itself.

    As for the double backspace issue, I've had it happen to me on the work computer using IE6, but never at home  with IE7 or Firefox.



  • @KenW said:

    @merreborn said:

    The editor fails gracefully.  Community server does not.
     

    Despite the fact you incorrectly identified the editor as FCK (it's TinyMCE), how is it Community Server's fault that you choose to use a crappy browser?

    In this case, merreborn fails (not so gracefully). Community server does not. 

    But merreborn never even mentioned what browser he was using. Why, it might even be your beloved IE! Try to at least make sense when you're trolling.



  • @Cap'n Steve said:

    Why, it might even be your beloved IE! Try to at least make sense when you're trolling.
     

    Right, but we have confirmed numerous times that IE and Firefox work fine.

    So maybe you should stop trolling.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @Juifeng said:

    Also, Community Server shouldn't delete 2 characters when I hit backspace once. It's funny, because just now as I typed it out, it stopped doing so.

    This is a quirk, but it is hardly something to waste time complaining about.

    I've never seen this behavior before.  I hear people complaining about it all the time, but I've never had it happen to me. 

    Some clarification, as I am the one that originally brought this up.

    It doesn't always delete two characters, just when the cursor is at the very end of a paragraph,and (I think) only when the last character is a space.  I think TinyMCE inserts a "phantom" space at the end of a post sometimes, which then gets overlaid by whatever you type.  If you try to delete that space, it was never really there in the first place, so it deletes the character before it.

    I'm done bitching about it, I'm just trying to clarify the issue.


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