Sunday, May 13, 2007

Me and my iPod - and a lesson for ABB?

I had a hard disc crash on my PC some months ago. It turned out that the back-up hadn't run since last summer, due to some glitch in the network setup. The help desk apologized and took the blame and helped me scrape whatever content could still be saved from the wrecked hard disc. Luckily they managed to rescue most of my files, including my music files.

I was happy, but my iPod was not. It refused to sync with my PC, and wouldn't even let me restore, which iPod owners will know is a last resort. I kept struggling with it for several hours, but in the end I had to give up. This weekend I finally had some time on my hands, and I decided to fix it no matter what it would take. It turned out to be much less than I anticipated...

As I connected the iPod and tried again to restore, an error message was the only result. "Unknown error -1418". Not much help, really. Or? I went to, clicked on support and entered "iPod error -1418" into the search. And presto; the first hit was a page that explained in detail how to create a batch file that would fix the issue. Five minutes later I was the happy owner of a fully functional iPod again.

And the lesson for ABB? As I keep stressing, it is next to impossible to manage expectations on the web. Users spend most of their time on other web sites and this determines their expecations. As more and more users have these kind of experiences on other web sites, they will come to expect a similar service level on ours. And how long will it be before they get it? Some have come quite a way, but I suspect too many have not even started thinking about how they can do it.

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