Customer service doesn’t scale?

In Your Call Is Not Important To Us Farhad Manjoo of Slate bemoans the lack of anything approaching even tolerably good customer service from Gmail.

He’s moaning about the free-to-users, advertiser supported Gmail service, not the paid services businesses and government agencies sign up for.

It got me thinking. Sometimes free means a bargain. Sometimes not. I would argue that the affordances of Gmail so far outweigh the possibility of poor customer service that even with no customer service at all, it’s still a good thing.

However, my expectations are fairly low when I sign up for free services. And the old saw holds — You get what you pay for . . .




The Internet for the rest of us

20-things-coverThe folks at Google have written a book — well, I’m sure they’ve written a few (and indexed a few more) but this particular batch of Googlies have written a children’s book for grownups that explains how the web works to those of us who are, shall we say, technology challenged, which means most of us if we’re being honest.

You can find the e-book here.

And when I say “technology challenged” I don’t mean to be disparaging. I think even those among us who use the Internet every day may lack a deep understanding of how it actually works. For example, how many people do you know who can actually describe how a car engine works? I mean, how it really works?

The book is charming. Clear, concise, aimed at intelligent adults and beautifully illustrated, it’s a must read for all your learning and development staff who do not muck around with code but who might benefit from understanding more about web architecture issues. There is a bit of Googlie self-promotion in certain chapters but hey, it’s free.

Thank you Google.