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Bad customer service: a cautionary tale

The other day I visited a hotel that proudly displayed a sign saying "FREE WIFI".

"Brill," I thought. "I’ll have a bit of that."

I asked at reception for the key needed in order to access the FREE WIFI. They give me a piece of paper containing the "simple" key code I had to enter. This is it (and I quote):


And when I say "enter",  I mean I had to add it twice. That’s right, boys and girls. No cutting and pasting of WEP keys. Twice.

Note that this particular key is also laced with lowercasers for that added IT comedic effect.

Here it is again:


Several failed tries later, I reached for my dongle and got online that way. But what a customer service gaffe. You promise free wifi, and you deliver IT hell.

I’m no technical geek but surely to God it’s possible to have sensible passwords like Lobby07?

It’s accessing FREE WIFI at a frigging hotel lounge, not a Special Weapons Division at the Pentagon mainframe!  Change your password each day if you are that fearful there might be someone sat in a car outside your hotel piggy-backing your FREE bandwidth.

Anyway, rant over.

The lesson?

Think about the things you can do to make it simpler not harder for your potential customers. Once you have created the path of least resistance, things just happen.

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