Well, there’s a whole new can of worms opened up…as though i needed any more.
But that’s what you get for wondering why something is happening, as opposed to just casually accepting it does. It had struck me, of late, that whilst junk mail addressed to my old self was becoming ever thinner on the mat, the volume of cold calls asking to speak to him indoors seemed to be going up.
In respect of the first, that doesn’t greatly bother me. Last week, we received two amazing offers, targeted at the previous owner of this property (last seen on the premises nearly 9 years ago now).
Junk mail is no respecter of transition
I assume that the source of this is twofold: technical lack of investment; and human disrespect. The latter, i witnessed first hand when working in the direct marketing industry some twenty years back.
One client (at the time) used to send out a massive annual statement mailing to its customers. As the mailing took place over several weeks and was to some five million or so people, you could guarantee that toward the end of the mail period, some of those on the originally supplied list would have died.
So concerned with its customers’ feelings was this organisation that it used to send over, daily, the names of a dozen or so bods who’d died the preceding week, to remove from mailing.
Not so another organisation – which must remain mercifully nameless – who, on being informed that a significant part of their prospect base was actually deceased (and how much it would cost to remove the names) just shrugged its shoulders and carried on as before, because “they’re hardly going to complain”. Quite!
The other prob lies in the techy sphere. Despite the vogue in many industries for something called the “single customer view”, most businesses continue to operate multiple separate databases. Sometimes one base – often the marketing one – is an extract taken from a more current (accounting) base, but not updated for months/years.
Sometimes it is something that a department has thought up on its own.
Thus, long after i changed my details with nPower, there was one species of marketing letter that kept coming thru my letterbox. Which, in time, i realised was due to their marketing department maintaining a separate base without decent update rules in place.
Not ringing in the changes
I digress. The real can of worms lies in the phone calls. Why, i started to wonder: after all, my old name is now removed or dormant on most of the big mailing lists. Its off the electoral register… changed at the big credit agencies.
OK: still associated, i suspect, to one or two dormant bank accounts…but that data should not be going out to, say, double glazing companies. What’s going on.
And of course, the answer is simple. The old name is listed in the current issue of local phone directory. I’ll forgive them that: after all, its less than a full year since BT changed all my account details over…and there was still the odd glitch (that separate database thing) up til June.
So i’m guessing that the latest directory may have been compiled too late in the day (or early) for the change to work its way thru.
All the same, this set me to thinking about two further name change probs. First off, it is a very very good reason for companies to have decent update procedures in place between in-house bases. Its no good saying “yes, Ma’am: we’ve changed your details…when actually they mean just the one set of details on one of the fifty databases they hold in-house”.
In such cases, the individual concerned has to do all the legwork, running round, changing stuff, at great personal cost in terms of time and blood pressure.
BT carelessness is going to get someone hurt
Much, much more seriously, though is what BT Have done with my name. Er. Online, my new name is not visible (although its meant to be).
Online, my OLD name is still available together with phone number and address. That is downright fucking criminal: i am pretty out and therefore must pay the price for that, one way or t’other.
But for anyone NOT out, this is a wide open door and security breach. I’ve fired off a personal complaint…but on Monday i will be raising the matter a tad higher.
BT need to get their act together on this one, before someone gets hurt.