I’m always amazed at how much money companies sink into sparkling advertising and PR, but so little into ensuring the emails their staff send and receive reflect the same sheen. Especially when they call themselves the “world’s local bank”. Take this recent email exchange with HSBC. I’m a customer, and sometimes use their Premier lounge at Jakarta airport. I’m one of those annoying people who make a point of submitting comments to companies about my experience, even if they’re not solicited. A few months back I was impressed enough with the Jakarta lounge to send an email to a generic customer relations email address I
Continuing my search for a place to plug in and work at airports, I was pleasantly surprised to find that HSBC has laid out the red carpet for its Premier account holders, at least at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport. If you have one of their fancy accounts, anywhere in the world, you and your partner can partake of their lounge services. It’s all a bit new, and, dare I say it, charmingly Indonesian: More people (three men watching one female doing the work) were involved in making my poffertjes (a Dutch batter treat popular in the former colony) than there were actual poffertjes: HSBC’s Poffertje-Making Team
I just broke another resolution: Never to go for any product or service that calls itself ‘Premium’ or ‘Premier’. I hate the whole elitist thang — the idea that there’s one bunch of people, and then another privileged bunch of people who have better hair, get better service — and I figured if enough of us didn’t take the ‘Premium’ service the companies offering it would have to just offer everyone better service for a vanilla price. Of course, I was being stupid. When the Hong Kong bank I had just opened a new account at (Bank A) in anger at my existing bank (Bank
The premium dialer, rogue dialer, Internet dumping problem (which I just happened, shameless self-promotion follows, to do a piece on which ran on WSJ.com a few weeks back, and on the BBC World Service last Friday) is a weird problem, not least because it would seem to be an easy one to stop. Surely the sleazeballs who are diverting people’s modems to high-paying international telephone numbers should be easy enough to catch, since the money is drawn by the less-than-sinister means of adding it to your phonebill? It seems to be more complicated than that, at least according to a company that handles the billing for
Now you don’t need sniffers and chalk anymore. The Premier Online WiFi Location Directory, launched a free searchable database today, featuring over 8,900 WiFi HotSpot locations representing 136 Network Providers worldwide. Of course one person’s ‘worldwide’ is another person’s ‘Hey! Why d’ya leave out my country? Not WiFi-ey enough for ya?’. I couldn’t find anything in Singapore, only one place was listed in Thailand and the Philippines threw up a ‘records not found!!!’ [sic] message. Sadly, this kind of thing is a mug’s game: Getting an uptodate list and keeping it uptodate with something like WiFi is a thankless, neverending task.
Plaxo respond to privacy and other issues Further to my column in this week’s FEER and WSJ editions about the contact updater Plaxo, here’s the company’s full responses to my questions about the product. 1. How exactly does Plaxo hope to make money from the venture? If this information is still private (as I’ve seen in other articles), why? And how do you convince members of the public to entrust their private information with you if it’s not clear how you make money from it? I saw reference to a corporate edition as the product that will be charged for. Is that