Repent at leisure…

speeding car tail lights

I went to bed last night to the news that British Airways has suffered a breach of the data held on its website relating to transactions made over the past three or four weeks. Another of the ever increasing data losses that plague us as we life our lives online and in the cloud. The more we transact through websites and apps the more our personal data is at risk.

I smiled as I went to bed. On this ocassion, at least, I was safe since I haven’t had any interaction with BA through its website or app for a year or two.

Then, this morning, I woke to listen to the reporting of the incident and I was astonished at the expectation that BA would be able to explain everything, say what had happened and what was being done to put matters right. The responses were, unsurprisingly, guarded and cautious. No spokesperson was going to commit until all the facts were known.

Of course, an urgent response is needed by those affected. They need to know whether they should cancel credit cards and so forth. But the greater detail and information about what action will be taken to protect them might necessarily take a little longer to formulate. I hope, for the sake of all those involved, that the process will not take too long.

Anyway, this all led to mull over the expectations we have in terms of customer service responses. When all we could do was communicate by letters, we tolerated three weeks of waiting when we complained. Now we seem to expect full disclosure within minutes of a problem being identified.

When Email first being used by some of my partner colleagues they would tell me that in the old days an urgent communication with an overseas colleagues could take a few days. With the arrival of Email decisions were demanded overnight without taking account of time zone differences.

Our hyper-connected world seems to demand hyper-speed decisions and hyper-speed service. I cannot help pondering whether actions taken at such a frenetic pace can only lead to poor decisions. As the proverb says ‘marry in haste, repent at leisure.’ We might equally say ‘demand a solution in haste, repent at leisure.’