The Auto Button

Posted by Voipfone on August 1, 2020

The Auto Button

Our dishwasher’s down. Its heating element has gone the way of all things. Normally I’d take on the challenge to fix this as I see it as my role in life to dadfix anything and it’s a personal failure if the only solution is a trip to the tip. Or, god forbid, I have to ‘get a man in.’

But I’ve fixed this beast several times – it’s had various problems along the way – but as it’s now 16 years old it’s probably time to say goodbye, and, as my dad used to say, “it owes me nowt”.

I have to say, I was a little bemused by the first sale guy I rang to get an upgrade, he asked me how old mine was then said “they don’t make them like that anymore.” Apparently, they make them worse now. I’ll spare you the details about how Covid has created massive shortages in the white goods industry and so on. I finally found one that seems suitable and it’s now happily whirling away under the worktop.

I’ll also spare you the details of what you find when you remove a dishwasher from a place that hasn’t seen the light of day for 16 years but is also in close proximity to a waste bin. No, this monologue is about


My 13 year-old sales guy was hot on features and could bang on all day about them. The dishwasher I finally bought has a measly nine features involving combinations of temperatures, eco, noise, out-of-hours working. And a magnificent button called ‘Chef’ – eh? My child salesboy doesn’t know this but I actually bought it for a single feature called ‘Auto’. Press that button and it decides everything. I can reliably predict that that button will wear out first.

But it doesn’t seem to be like that in Voipfone. We’re constantly developing new features. We do this for two reasons 1) we haven’t got an ‘Auto’ button, 2) people keep asking us for them. Almost as soon as we put out a new product we get asked to add another feature to it. In our world things get increasingly intricate because features are useful things. We start with as simple a product as we can and it just grows. Last month we produced an update and upgrade to our IVR produce with new flashy features and in a couple of months it’ll be call barring’s turn. Then call queues. Features, features, features.

The pundits of the industry tell me that features are so last year, then reel off whatever the latest fad they’re trying to promote is. They don’t even say “people don’t want features they want solutions” anymore; but they will, it’ll be back. I just nod and smile and think of the length of wish list that our customers have created for us.

But I really wish we had a ‘Auto’ button.

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