Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Andy Thurai

Blog Feed Post

Acknowledgement matters

6983916617_d476e373cc_zIn face to face interactions we are programmed to recognise the importance of feedback. As we move many previously physical interactions online, are we in danger of forgetting just how important it is?

When you walk into a shop and buy something, a plethora of tangible and intangible signals reassure you that all is proceeding as planned. You have the goods you purchased. You probably have a printed (or emailed) receipt. You may have change in your pocket. The cashier actually interacted with you, whether with a cheery smile, calm efficiency, or brusque disregard. You leave, clear that something happened.

Most online services, of course, recognise that it’s important to maintain these cues; even when buyer and seller are continents apart. Amazon confirms a transaction on-screen, and then follows up with an email to acknowledge your purchase. It then sends further emails when goods despatch, and offers a variety of methods to track the process from ordering to delivery. In this, it is far from alone.

And yet, now and then, I come across online businesses which fail to grasp the importance of feedback, information, and acknowledgement. And, every time, it jars. Why, in 2014, are otherwise good businesses failing to recognise that they’re dealing with human beings, and that those human beings are programmed to expect interaction, reassurance, acknowledgement?

The latest online business to — apparently — ignore this important aspect of the human makeup is bill.com. A few recent projects have been for clients that have started to use the well-funded online payments and accounting service. For them, the service may well be great. It may do everything its marketing suggests, to streamline the process of receiving, processing, and fulfilling invoices. It may offer them great tools, and a great user experience. For me, submitting an invoice, the process is dreadful.

The initial premise is good. Simply email an invoice (in my case, generated automatically by FreeAgent) to a *@bill.com email address. No client-specific Excel spreadsheets to complete. No nasty Salesforce kludge, which looks like its UI was designed by a distracted toddler and their bad-tempered teddy bear. Just an email address to receive an invoice that my own systems are all geared up to create and track. This, I thought, is going to be great. The future of billing has arrived.

And then the wheels fall off. Nothing. Absolutely nothing happens. No emailed acknowledgement of receipt. No ability to track where an invoice is in the approval process. No email to say that payment is coming. Tens of thousands of dollars invoiced, and you know nothing for weeks; until the money eventually shows up — unannounced — in your bank account.

The first time this happened, I assumed that my client had perhaps failed to select an option to have email acknowledgement sent. They were, I knew, new to bill.com. They might not have it all set up correctly.

Twitter___Search_-_billcom_PaulMiller

Apparently not. Apparently it’s a good suggestion. For future updates. Really? For a company that’s been trading since 2006? Surely the electronic equivalent of the smile of acknowledgement, the grunt of recognition, the closing of the loop is rather more fundamental than that?

Are we really meant to drop out of this shiny,  futuristic and time-saving automated process to contact the client?

Hi. I just submitted my invoice for that project. Can you please confirm receipt?

How does that help anyone? It’s more work for me, it’s more work for them. And all the stupid computer had to do was send an email to let me know mine got through. A handshake, if you will. In both the networking and the real-world senses of the term.

As we move more and more online, we still need to acknowledge, reassure, report. Bill.com doesn’t, and it should. A human being at bill.com manages to do it on Twitter, obviously. Shouldn’t the same response to human beings’ need to feel engaged with be baked deep into their product?

Image by Flickr user vkanaya

 

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Paul Miller

Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.