The Glitch

Interesting exchange between a passenger and a ticket inspector on a journey into St. Pancras on Weds morning.

Passenger asks for ticket. Inspector takes payment via card. Debit apparently shows on passengers a Bank app, but due to poor WiFi, credit does not show on Inspector’s machine.

Which is where it got interesting. Both passenger and Inspector courteous and polite; no aggro, but the centre of the conversation became the machine. The machine became a glitch:

– “you’ll have to pay again, because my machine doesn’t show the payment”

– “but my app says I have”

– “well, you’ll still need to pay again. My machine doesn’t recognise your payment.

If you end up paying twice, we’ll refund it”

What really struck me was that algorithms were centre stage. At no point did empathy show up. End result was an Inspector who spent probably 20 mins politely aggravating a customer who was convinced she had already paid.

Lose/Lose for the humans, win for the algorithms.

And both humans just accepted it.

Those businesses that can put humanity centre stage are the future winners.

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