Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lead by Example

After I read a column in our local tabloid, The Sun, I decided to write a complaint letter to the CEO that the columnist had mentioned, which he said is also his close friend. This is because, he quoted, both of them praised Amazon’s high quality on customer service.

I half expected I would get any reply from this CEO from a leading online recruitment company in this region, when I know usually one’s high approval on something might not necessary apply to his own organization, especially when we already have some awful experience dealing with them, which further leaves me with no illusion.  
Lead by example? Talk the walk or walk the talk?
This, is how the corresponding letter looks like:

FingerTec Worldwide has been X’s client for many years and until now, we are still engaging with your services to recruit suitable personnel for our business. Deemed as one of the leading Internet Recruitment websites in the Asia-Pacific with 11 millions jobseekers available, it is in my opinion that X does not reach my expectations. Please let me elaborate on that point.

The Company has been looking for R&D personnel candidates for more than a year without many applicants or much success. The scarce candidates who applied for the positions were not reliable candidates and most of them failed to turn up even though the interviews had been agreed and scheduled beforehand. The problem is, we are not looking for high-level skillful employee to fulfill our requirements; we do welcome fresh graduates. Nevertheless, even though this is a simple requirement, X fails to provide us quality candidates for consideration.

I do understand that X does not guarantee suitable applicants, but X’s ignorance to the fact that your services provided yield negative results even after a long period of time is appalling. As a responsible company, you should be concerned with this trend and have the courtesy to put in more effort to ensure success. Unfortunately this effort is in vain when it comes to X.

We are your paying customers and we pay to get your services. The resources that we have spent should result in the services we requested. This is a simple economical concept understood by even the simplest layman. If your services fail to fulfill our requirements, you shouldn’t accept future orders or at least provide us some form of compensation to remedy our losses. I look forward to getting a reply from X regarding this matter, and will appreciate your prompt cooperation in dealing with this issue.

"My mom asked me to walk a straight line"
I recalled a very minor incident that happened two years ago when a manager from this particular company called to demand payment on an “arrear” of less than USD50, which had been long overdue, according to him. My HR Manager argued that we paid cash in advance to get their services, so how could we still owe them money? And our system showed no such record. Even though this untraceable “debt” is due to their own mistake, they were steadfast and insisted we cleared the old “debt” in order for them to process our new ad placement. In short, the whole episode did not look the slightest like Amazon.  I wonder how this CEO said he valued Amazon’s service quality as high?

So, my complaint letter went down the drain without any reply, which is not unexpected.

That’s why I believe LinkedIn, Facebook and some other online platforms closing in from different angles to grab the online recruitment businesses in this region will not meet much resistance. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

User Interface Defines User-Friendliness

Since the foray of personal computers into our life during the last three decades, monitors, keyboards and mouses have remained as the most essential interface devices for human to interact with computers. Even though we observed some minor improvements like monitors from bulky to flat, to higher resolution; keyboards from big to smaller; and mice from cabled to wireless; the nature of the medium stayed put.

It remained that way until computing power were compressed into tablets and smartphones, where the new human interface started to observe a real change, and the change is obviously welcomed and quickly situated the once dominant PC-era to a post-PC era.

Innovators are betting on new interfaces to drive computing power
And more and more innovators are betting on new interfaces to drive computing power, like the wearable Google Glass, a Kinect-like device to replace the mouse, voice control and etc. Or, another advancement in interface development is to find a way to stuff the computing power into other existing devices from car dashboards to kitchen appliances, or even to the TV in the living room.

Just like how many other eBook readers failed to change the human reading habit until Amazon’s Kindle reader became the mainstream, user interface typically plays a crucial role.

Even though we are a technology company that focuses our attention to develop industrial products, our efforts are not really out of the scope of user interface. In 1999, we had the idea to replace the RFID cards with human fingerprint as the fundamental threshold interface for employees to enter a premise or to clock in/out when they report to work with an objective to curb fraudulent activities. We realized our idea by designing biometric devices that were first implanted with fingerprint recognition, expanded later to face verification, and then integrated into our software that processes all the captured clocking data.

When technological products are invented to serve human, we have to think holistically, fine-tuning the products to suit every possible use of customers and, in a comforting way. You just can’t expect users to adjust themselves to adapt to some of your shortcomings in design; not even the slightest. We believe any technology that works against the comfortableness of the users, would not achieve big success.

Hence, we always revisit our products, collect feedbacks from users, and constantly improve them. And, this time around, besides adding job-costing features to enhance TimeTec, the web and cloud-based time and attendance software, we spent two months since February, to revamp its user interfaces, towards a more intuitive, convenient, user-friendly software.  

In this round of improvements, we expect to achieve greater user satisfaction.