Kärcher should have kept Notes!

Well, sometimes one get’s really angry first  and in the end you can’t stop grinning.
 A few weeks ago, I ordered a hose trolley from Kärcher‘s online shop. Took only slightly more than a week to arrive at my place. Happily I started assembling the darn thing, only to realise after 5 seconds, that parts were missing. Now it started to get silly. Using my incredible IT skills, I sent away a complaint, using the online form. Kärcher asks quite a few things, like serial numbers, you can’t find anywhere. Neither the missing parts number. It went away anyway and then …. nothing happened. No confirmation, nothing. After two weeks I looked for a service number. You will not find it on the contact page but somewhere else. Tried to phone them. Must have been during a break, because I had to try quite a few times. But in the end, I got somebody on the phone. Now I explained the whole thing and told her, that I did fill out the complaint form. Looks like they have problems with it. It is possible, that the complaints get lost, because they changed the system lately. Since I did not have the missing parts number, I had to scan the assembly plan with the missing parts marked. Then … nothing. After another two weeks I tried to phone again. Same story, nobody picked up the phone. I tried the main number of the Swiss head quarter, only to be told that I have to phone that other number. After a few more tries, I finally got a living person on the phone again. Looks like Kärcher does not have replacement parts in Switzerland, the whole issue was escalated to Germany. After another ten days or so, I got an email from Kärcher, asking me to bring the trolley to one of their partners for an exchange. But this was triggered by the complaint form. Had nothing to do with the phone calls. Took them a month to figure it out. Though, I brought it to a Kärcher partner shop. That raised a few eye brows, since they are understandably not very keen on handling warranty things for parts they did not sell. But they did it anyway. Picked up the replacement after another two weeks. Incidentally I got a phone call an hour later from the Kärcher service hot line, suggesting I should bring it in (the other one, with the missing parts) and I would get a replacement. Kärcher was not able to bring these two complaints together into one, even though they knew about it.
 Looks like Kärcher had Notes once. Even a Notes CRM. They should have kept it. I am pretty sure, that our proven and hip (NonSQL stuff is today the way to go, apparently. Those hipster techies are a bit late for the game) technology would have handled that problem quite easily, just by showing two times the same complaint from the same person in one view. Anyway, it is a strange way of thinking by Kärcher, that the persons handling the service hot line, do not have access to the complaints sent by using the Internet form. Figure that, but the success story tells a completely other story. It’s all hugging and backslapping.
I believe, if a company uses Notes, they are automatically better organised. I have some evidence here. During my career, I got the very, very strong impression, that if the IT system of a company is a mess, the company’s organisation is a mess, too. Lately this was confirmed by a friend of mine, who is on the other side of the fence, who said, that if a company’s organisation is a mess, this shows in the IT system, too. Due to the fact, that Notes is a system, that can handle much more different tasks (aka apps, dbs or whatever it is called right now, I am lost there), than anything else out there without hundreds of entirely different clients and servers, the IT system is inherently better organised and therefore also the company. Can’t argue with that, can you? Oh, you can make a mess with Notes, but it is just less likely and it shows up easier (as long as you use it as intended, not just mail). 
In a more general way we can say, independent data silos created by different systems are bad. The effort and cost to connect them is very high and can be avoided by using systems that are made for sharing a wide range of data and not just for storing one single kind, because the whole architecture is less flexible and interfaces are always crutches. Using appropriate products even reduces the need for data mining, where often rather useless rows of numbers are produced (but hey, if somebodies management skills are based entirely on Excell and Powerpoint, they might need lots and lots of different business ratios, just to prove their existence. I don’t want to interfere with that). On the other hand, companies that “get” Notes, tend to produce a huge number of different apps and some, or many, lose track of them. But this is still a better way, than using Excell, which is the most common data storage tool today. At least in Notes data is stored in one place, which is much less messy than some files with crazy names in long forgotten folders.
I have the impression, that moving off Notes, did not turn up for the better for Kärcher. Same old, same old.
(And just as a disclaimer. Don’t know a lot about the quality of the organisation of Kärcher, but they messed up big time my complaint. Gone is my belief that Kärcher was one of the good companies. Oh my. The older one gets, the more illusions are destroyed)

3 Gedanken zu „Kärcher should have kept Notes!“

  1. IBM is not using Notes as their CRM system either and they have the same excuses all other companies use when they move off Notes.

  2. As the competition would say: Notes cannot even generate an Opportunity ID 😉
    My Notes and Domino life would be easier if IBM would not put so many services off the platform. On the other side I am quite busy porting apps. MongoDb & Co are a lot of fun too but you just cannot forget what you have (quite happily) done for so many years.

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