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Last week I wanted to get a new rubber pad for my trustworthy AEG wood sander. It is of professional quality, so I was confident I could find a new velcro-plated pad from one of the online stores in no time. We have the new, real time economy anyway, right?

As the famous web store with the same name as the large river in Brazil could not help me, I turned to the famous search engine for my simple spare part request. AEG could not help me online (only for resellers), but the product code (SKU) was found from more than ten different onlines stores, most of them showing that the item is either on backorder or that it’s not available. One provider had an inventory of 10, but it turned out to be a ghost store as the certificate was expired two years ago and thus the payment system was inoperational.

One peculiar French (also -speaking only) store finally got my order, and I got nice confirmation, even for shipping (yes, they thought it would not be suspicious if an item is delivered in seconds). Then, in two days, I got a message in French telling that the part is no longer manufactured and that there’s no replacement. The store returned my money, which I had painstakingly paid through wire transfer.

Now, I’m a fairly good customer for AEG, Bosch, DeWalt and Hitachi, with an arsenal of professional power tools. Why do I get far worse service than what I could get, say, 15 years ago, even when we’re in this glorious new information age?

The problem is that many of these companies and providers have lost their grip on the real customer relationship, and assume that some piece of software or hardware will magically take care of things. This is a certain road to perdition, although it takes some time.

Smart companies look at spimes, IoT and Digital Twins in order to understand and serve their customers better every day. We at BaseN are honored to work with some of them on the front line.


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