04 Nov

Tesco ‘face-scanning’: Where do you draw the line?

It has been announced that Tesco will be installing face-scanning technology at tills in their petrol stations. The idea is to recognise the customer’s gender and a rough approximation of their age. I can see this going badly wrong…

My first thought is what a great way to anger your customers, advertising Tena Lady to women in their forties, and tampons to men with long hair!

Face Scan

Face-scanning: Would you be happy about this data being collected?

If this technological leap is anything like their self-scan tills, we can expect a whole host of teething problems. More importantly, however, is the issue surrounding how our images are to be used. A Tesco spokeswoman said, “No data or images are collected or stored and the system does not use eyeball scanners or facial-recognition technology”, but does this really fill you with confidence? Surely as any system, it will be vulnerable to hacking and security issues. Personally I, and I’m positive many will feel the same, don’t feel comfortable with my face being scanned every time I go in to fill up my car.

It’s all very big brother of Tesco to initiate advertising in this way. I even find banner ads showing those shoes I’ve just looked at a little creepy.

As one commenter on a BBC News article put it, “This is where technology is blurring the line between the reasonable and intrusive.” and I think ravenmorpheus2k got it spot on.

And that’s the problem with this. It is intrusive. And entirely unnecessary. Will it make me think twice about filling up at Tesco? Yes. And we’re not exactly spoilt for choice.

 

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24 Oct

The way in which we get customer service

It is never a good decision to give customers just one way to get in touch. There are times when an email is best – you don’t want to hang around on hold listening to the same song over and over, and it’s not that urgent anyway.

Sometimes a quick phone call is all it needs, then you can stop worrying and know that everything is sorted.

Phone Clock

Can technology reduce the amount of time we spend waiting on the phone?

And sometimes, yes even in this digital age, a letter is what is needed. I recently sent a letter to a company telling them what a good member of staff they had. It’s rare, but it does happen.

It’s irritating to say the least when a company is faceless. Take eBay for instance. How do you get in touch with someone just to explain a situation? It took me too long to find a number. I am certain that this is no accident.

We all have to deal with the endless phone queues though. As I write, I have been listening to the same ‘thank you for waiting, we will answer your call as soon as possible’ for over 15 minutes. All I want is a new PIN number. It’s not even an account I use much. Please, why is there no online contact form that I can just fill out and they can send me a new one?

Banks, council offices, utility companies, doctors surgeries, dentists… why is there no easy way to contact them? You’d think, in this day and age, they would have figured out that the longer they keep us waiting, the less likely they will be to get a polite and understanding customer on the end of the line?

There has to be a solution to this problem. Internet chat has come the closest for me, except at the point when they are clearly reading from a script – or when the problem is far from solved and they say ‘is there anything else I can help you with today?’

Surely technology can help with this. We are supposed to be in an age of global communication, and I have to wait twenty minutes to speak to someone in a bank I could have crawled to in this time.

 

*Note – 35 minutes and I gave up. What a way to make an issue out of something so routine!
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