Hear Ye! Since 1998.
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Oct 02

Fanatical Service

I was browsing Rackspace last night, when I diverted my attention to another browser window for a few minutes. Suddenly, a soft voice intoned through the speakers, “Welcome”, and a pop-up box appeared. Another pop-up ad box. My neurologically ingrained impulses automatically set my cursor moving towards the box’s close button before my consciousness realised that it actually wasn’t an advertisement. It was a chat dialog, originating from Rackspace customer support officer “scottw”, complete with his smiling visage framed in a tiny mugshot. He inquired if I needed help with anything. Taken a little aback, I replied with “just browsing thanks” and satisfied myself, after he replied, that it was actually a human being I was talking to, and not some gimmicky bot. It’s a scenario you’d run into everyday in department stores, but the first time I’ve come across it on the net. To realise, there are actually a bunch of support peons who have to chat to web site visitors who linger too long on one of their pages. It’s weird. I wonder if one day there will be anti-loitering security personnel monitoring a page: “Hey! You’ve been idle on our site for 60 seconds. Did you know it’s rude to browse someone else’s site when you still have ours open?”

Or a salesperson who virtually eyeballs you as you browse their wares: “Sir, did you know we also have that Modena 360 in yellow? And say, while you’re at it, why don’t you fill in this job and income survey so we can determine whether to waste anymore of our bandwidth on you?” Well, maybe not. You can only stretch the analogy so far, I guess.