Tuesday, September 27, 2005

CF5 600 - Flashless - 05 DesignSo darling, what did you do today?
Well dear, this morning I spent an hour sitting on the floor next to a restless American in a shell suit, in the queue for an office that wasn't open yet.

And that's about the only bit from a massively long rant that I'm going to keep. Basically I was getting annoyed by the following: Poor communication. Poor organisation. Thoughtless design. Usually by experts in the field.

But on the good side my car survived another MOT (surprising everyone, including the mechanic). I've even got the insurance sorted out for £60 less than the renewal quote with the same company. And it's quite fun watching people weep when one mentions that one's annual car insurance premium is £215. Of course keeping the car has become a bit of anachronism, but well, I'm irrational.

A sidenote to all the [now sorted] insurance chaos. The internet is a wonderful thing, especially when Direct Line have a get-a-quote page which wants estimated annual mileage. Except that the accompanying variable comes in the form of a drop down list, which contains one item: the blank space holder usually found at the top of such lists, and which is not a valid answer. So they demand an answer to the question and yet only give the option for one answer which they will not accept. Do you think they were wondering why so few people were getting quotes before I emailed them?

Here's their response (after the automated equivalent of "please hold", and with their special markings)
 Hi and thanks for your feedback. I’m sorry that you have experienced
 problems with our website.

Now why would that be? Could it be you've noticed problem=no money?

 As you may have noticed our site has recently undergone a major redesign
Do you know, I hadn't. I'm terribly sorry, but keeping abreast of the latest developments of a no-longer-competitive insurer's website isn't all that high on my list of priorities.

 with the range of available online services being enhanced.
Yeah, I noticed the enhancements.

As this work
 cascades across the site occasionally a minor problem may arise.

Occasional and minor. Sure. Wiping out the part of the site that is the starting point of a lot of new (and sensible returning) customers in the company's largest business area. Minor.

 If you try the site again you should be able to complete your enquiry or
 alternatively you can call us on 0845 246 8701 and our linked telesales
 department will be happy to help you.

Would that be the one who charge me more simply because it's being done over the phone? Oh, and by the way, the fault's still not fixed two days later (and it does seem to be a really simple bit of HTML to do the inputs).

 Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention and once again my
 apologies for the problems you have encountered.

I've just checked and it works better in IE (my default is Firefox), but they quote a premium of £315 with an excess of £200 (yet Norwich Union do it for £215 with £50 excess. Sometimes I think they're just not trying). So do I feel like going back and enlightening them? Or do I just write back saying "sorry, too late, too crap, gone with NU"?


And what is it that you are regarding? The light breaking through yonder window?

 Direct Line Insurance, Retail
Poor boy. Just imagine how cruel the parents would have to be to call their child that. I know "Direct Line Insurance" is a bit of a stymieing surname, but to call a child Retail as well? That's nearly as bad naming your child after a branch of the family hotel chain.

And while I'm on stupidity: automatic insurance renewal reminders, as sent out by competitors. They assume an insurance policy runs until the end of the month, so they send out reminders and quotes by email on the 28th. Which when the policy expired on the 27th. Bit late. Although the worst offender was confused.com. I'd used them the day before (and had enough trouble doing that. Don't forget your password, because they claim they'll email it out "shortly". The next day is not shortly, and their system is so intelligent it automatically recognises data on file, so if, like me, you've forgotten your password, you can't create a new account, because it says "I know you. You've already got an account. Please enter your password").

But in other news, I've remembered the PIN I need to top-up my phone credit. Just two days after I got it overwritten.

And why is hotmail being so thick of late? Each time I try logging in I get a different version of the login page, most of which demand certificates to be accepted which then don't work, and if they do it takes me to a page several clicks away from the inbox. Are they trying to kill it off so then they can launch anti-competition lawsuits at Google?

I really don't understand.


Hahaha! Hillarious.
Thanks Any-hoo, i'd appreciate any comments, you seem quite the expert. :-)
Expert? Don't confuse bloody-minded persistence with the idea that I know what I'm doing.

You seem to be doing fine.
Googleable name: check.
Perpetually updated: check.
Diverse content: check. (The "diverse" might put some people off, but I can't see the point in reading or writing within the same narrow monotonous niche everyday. I just don't think like that).

And I like your uncle's worry quote.

I'll add a proper sidebar link when I get round to updating the template.
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