The digital world needs common sense

Written by on December 17, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

Common sense concept.The last First Minister of a small but rather proud country just north of England attended his fair share of grand events. He rubbed shoulders with royalty and rather liked it. He spoke well. He looked like your local pub landlord and was popular with most.

He also refused to go to these grand events with his passport, ignoring instructions.

This put quite a lot of people in a difficult position. The rules said that everyone, except Her Majesty the Queen, should bring their passport as proof of identity. The Queen does not need one, otherwise she would be allowing herself ‘to pass freely, without let or hindrance’ in other countries. The First Minister, though, has a passport.

The officials in charge of these grand events were embarrassed and did not know what to do. The security guards on the gate of the church or palace did not know what to do and could have lost their jobs if they had let him in. And could have lost their jobs if they did not.

His view was that everyone knew who he was. He even tried to get on an airplane as someone called James T Kirk. He was not allowed to travel.

You can see his point. You can also see the other point, even if it does make you sigh and wonder ‘about the world we live in.’

So, we need to get back to the time when we could vouch for someone’s identity because we know them.

The same is true in customer service.

My grandmother used to live by the river in London. There was a corner shop where she bought most of her groceries. She would pass the time of day with the owner who had been the owner for 30 years or so and he would fill up her basket for her, with the usual things. As well as having conversations about the weather and Mrs Weatherby’s hip, there would also be conversations such as “I ordered you some more of that strawberry jam you like, I thought you would be running low by now.” She would be grateful, but not surprised that the shop keeper would know she was about to run out of her favourite jam.

My uncle lived in the north of Scotland, in a small, rather cold town. Phones arrived, together with a local ‘exchange.’ The phone would ring and a conversation like this was not uncommon: “Hello, you want Invergordon 213? Yes, uh, huh, I just saw Mr Mackenzie go past the window on his way to the butcher (pronounced bootcher), is it important? I can put you through there if you wish.”

We strive, nowadays, to recreate these intuitive experiences and events (well, perhaps not Captain Kirk’s), at scale, and our default setting is to start with digital solutions. What else do we have?

We have common sense to add to the extraordinary potential of the digital solutions and the minds behind them.

We are, I think, beginning to find digital solutions to which we can add common sense. The blockchain, plus common sense, might help us solve an idiotic identity crisis. Self care and a break down of established channels of communications might help solve the intuitive need for those individual offerings at just the right time.

The key word, though, is ‘help.’ Technology alone solves nothing, technology plus innovation, plus common sense must be the way ahead.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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