In recent years, there has been a process of automating everything and everyone, which often has a beneficial effect on saving time when you have to contact organizations and support services. With the massive proliferation of telephones, a visit to the organization's representative office has become not the most popular way to resolve the issue. He was replaced by a call to the hotline and a conversation with a specialist. Often, you can not even wait for the employee's answer, but solve the issue using the interactive menu, as the people say, 'talk to the robot', which means moving through the menu by pressing the necessary keys. Self-service services are gradually getting smarter and begin to interact with the client not only through an interactive menu by pressing buttons during a call, but also using voice commands that can be spoken in free form. Whether such services will be able to replace a person, we will see in the very near future. Another option for interaction and a quick solution to the issue without a call is personal accounts, with the help of which the client can solve most of the issues in two clicks.
In addition to desktop versions of cabinets, every self-respecting organization that works with people invests in the development of applications for mobile devices. This turns out to be not only convenient and fast for the client, but also allows the company itself to significantly save money, in the future, reducing the number of live people on the line. This method of communication with a client has become especially relevant in the past few years – a generation is growing up for which communication with a machine is becoming more familiar and easier than communication with people. For such clients, clicking on the icon in the application turns out to be much faster and easier than waiting for a response from a specialist, and then also explaining to him what exactly you need from him. Another unobvious advantage is the lack of a human factor in the person of a company employee who may not hear or hear wrong, or even just make a mistake when registering an application.
But, like any technique, neither mobile applications nor remote services are immune from errors related to the stability of the service, or even simply from the lack of an Internet connection at the time of the operation. And here there are additional risks associated with proving your innocence in the event of such a failure.
In the case of a visit to a company representative office, documents issued during the visit can be used as evidence.
Image taken from the site mialex.ru
In the case of contacting the hotline, the proof will be the recording of the dialogue with the operator (most companies have dialogue recording systems designed to 'improve the quality of service').
In the case of a personal account or a mobile application, only a message about the performed operation received from the company can serve as evidence.
What if the message was deleted? What if it didn't come? What to do then? Most likely, hope for a miracle. However, as personal experience shows, in matters concerning the company's money, miracles are extremely rare.
As an example, I will tell you my own story that happened to me a few days ago.
Being an experimenter and an amateur to try new products on myself, I was flattered by the card of one of the banks that do not have physical branches and provide services remotely. The main product of such banks is cards. I have issued a debit card without any credit limit. The main purpose of registration is the ability to withdraw cash from ATMs of any banks without commission and no service fees.
When issuing a card, I was connected to the SMS-informing service for a grace period free of charge with the subsequent transition to a paid service for 60 rubles. per month. I sincerely do not understand why, if there is a mobile application, to connect such information, but oh well, no one gave me a choice, since in the contract this clause was already noted in advance when the contract was printed, and it cannot be removed.
We agree and get the card.
I have been using the map for a while. Not often, but rather episodically, since my main card is from another bank. Then I receive a message that from next month informing will be paid, and at the same time a description of how wonderful this service is and how vital it is for each client.
Further actions are simple and straightforward. I open the application and turn off the service by simply moving the slider to the 'off' position, and happily forget about it.
It would seem that everything, finita la comedy. But everything is not so simple, otherwise this material would not exist.
A month later, I receive a notification with the date of the upcoming write-off for the 'SMS-informing' service, which I turned off … Strange, I think, I go to the application and check the status of the service – turned off. Well, I think, you never know, maybe an error or a message is belated. And then I do something that I probably shouldn't have done – enable / disable the service by moving the slider back and forth. Wonderful. Now it's definitely disabled.
Well, that's it, now you can forget, especially since the date is indicated in the message in the first days of the next month.
And, attention, after another month I receive a message that I have a debt for the service rendered and not paid for by me, and besides this, in another month there will be a write-off for another period in which I allegedly used the service. I go to the application – the service is disabled. It's strange.
I'll have to communicate with people from the support service (which I don't really like). I called the hotline number, where a young man who was trying hard to appear formidable and important (caused a smile) answered me, introduced himself by name and patronymic. It's strange. It turned out that I was automatically transferred to the arrears line. Of course, a hard-core defaulter who owed the bank astronomical 55 rubles (at the time the service fee was debited, there were 5 rubles on the card). I explain the situation, and I am transferred to the main line to find out the details.
From communication with the hotline specialist, it became clear to me only that I was 'myself to blame for everything, since I did not turn off the service on time'. And the fact that in the system they only see the last shutdown of the service (when I moved the switch to / from). Moreover, despite the fact that my settlement day is the 3rd of the month, I did not have time to turn off the service. Curious.
Well, it happens that they will figure it out now, I think, and ask me to accept an application from me for a detailed verification of the actions on the card account. I am sent to my personal account to write an application there (unpleasant, but normal practice) and only after my persistent question to accept the application here and now they agree with displeasure in their voice.
By the way, information on the timing of consideration of the application had to be pulled from the operator with tongs.
The response to the application came less than an hour after the request. The expected content is the fool himself.
Well, we are not proud people – I will wait until they start calling the contact number with a demand to pay off the debt, and then I will wait until the bank deigns to attract either collectors or other legal methods for collection. And then we will act further, possibly sue. Despite the fact that the amount is penny and in fact is not even worth the time spent, in this case my position will be fundamental. I am not ready to pay for the incorrect operation of the application. I hope that during the trial (if it comes to that) it will come out to receive the text of messages sent to me by the bank, among which there will be a message with the text that the service was disabled earlier.
At the moment, in order to close the card (which I am going to do at the earliest opportunity and advise my relatives, acquaintances and friends to do this), it is necessary to pay off the overdue debt. We'll have to endure the presence of the card.
One thing pleases me – as they explained to me on the hotline, in the arrears department, this debt will not affect the credit history and will not be charged interest, penalties and fines. We will also check this empirically.
The performance of mobile applications and services is not perfect at the moment, which I had the pleasure to see from my own experience. No device or system is immune from errors, and the fact that they happen is an inevitability that you have to put up with. Unfortunately, the human factor has turned into a machine factor, and it is not known when the influence of such situations on the final result will be minimized. To insure yourself against this, you need to double-check the execution of the application through several channels, including communication with a living person. But why then a functional application?
And I really want to believe that the service that did not disconnect at the end of the free period is an annoying misunderstanding and an isolated case that only I had to face, and is not systemic. But, no matter what mistakes happen, the main thing is the reaction of companies to such facts and the desire to understand the situation. In this situation, the promptness of the answer, on the one hand, pleases, but on the other hand, it makes one think that they did not even try to figure it out in the situation and acted according to the template, providing an answer. And in the process of communication, I got the feeling that I was not at all welcome there. The only thing I can do is vote with a ruble, namely, refuse to use the company's products.
In this regard, I would like to know from you, dear readers, have you encountered similar situations? And how did you solve them?