Garbage In Garbage Out

Booker tries to make it easy to search for customers. When first looked into Booker, you will see the customer search box near the top-center of the screen (see below). It’s the field that has the person icon with the green checkmark.

I began to notice that roughly one-fourth of our customers would not show up when their names were typed. For example, I can usually type “John” in the field and will be shown a drop-down list of every John in our database. If you want to narrow down the list of Johns, you just continue by adding a space, then start adding the last name too.

Let’s say, for example, I have two different John Smiths. As I typed “John,” I would see them both, but once I add the space and the letter “s” one of them disappeared even though they are both “John Smith.”.

After some trial and error, here is what I discovered. When some of our customers set up their own online profiles in Booker, they add a space after either the first name or last name or both. This means the only way to find one of the John Smiths is to type John, then TWO spaces, then the last name. I am able to edit the customer profiles to remove the extra spaces, but this can be quite time-consuming.

I was convinced that Booker would want to know about this so they could offer a built-in software solution to this problem. That built-in solution would simply strip away any leading or training space for the first name and last name data fields. This is actually a very common feature to add to code.

Booker was not interested in fixing this. I was told that the software was behaving the way it was designed to. When I told the Booker customer service rep that bad data input (garbage in) would result in bad data output (garbage out), they simply repeated that the software was designed this way.


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