Business & Finance
06:45 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl

Editor's Note: Get Ready, Get Set ... Stop!

Like a lot of parents, I say "how many times do I have to tell you ..." about a million times a day. I long for the day when my requests or questions get a response the first time I ask.

Lately, I've been wondering how many times consumers are asking the same questions of some companies with which they do business. If you're going to launch a marketing campaign for low-cost airfares, wouldn't you expect traffic on your Web site to soar? Wouldn't you prepare? Apparently Delta Air Lines didn't, and its Web site fell to its knees. Don't even get me started about Comair's antiquated scheduling system that wreaked havoc on weary travelers on Christmas Day.

These gaffes have become public knowledge, but I'm sure we could all list a few of our own. Let me start! A few days ago, I tried to make an appointment online. It worked, but when I got my confirmation, I found my appointment had been scheduled for Jan. 6, 1899 (yes, 106 years ago), at 5 a.m. I ordered flowers for a friend online, got a confirmation, and then later got a phone call from the company saying my order wasn't processed because of some glitch in its system. Unfortunately, it was the second time I've experienced a "glitch" with this company. It will certainly be the last because I'll shop elsewhere from now on.

There are a zillion positive things I could write about how technology has improved my relationship with a company. But some businesses have really dropped the ball. Have lower IT budgets or smaller staffs let these kinds of mistakes happen? Do business processes need to be overhauled? Perhaps some business-performance-management software is overdue? Senior editor Tony Kontzer explores some of these issues in "Under Pressure", and we'd love to hear your thoughts, too.

Stephanie Stahl

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