This morning I was driving near one of the major processing sites of the garbage collection company in Milan, and a truck came out of the site, without giving any priority to the cars on the main street, including mine. I was driving rather slowly, so I managed to pull the brakes in time to avoid a collision. The driver yelled at me, waving his hands in an ominous way, then drove away.
I decided I would flag his behavior to his company, which is owned by the Milan local government. When I was home, I checked on the web and found a single client service” email address for the company. As I wanted to copy the local police or at least the relevant local government folks, I looked at the portal of the City of Milan. Following the usual “contact” link I was taken to a page offering four different interaction channels:
- certified email, a tool that has been made mandatory for businesses but not yet for individuals, which is meant to replace official paper communication and requires registration and payment of a yearly fee
- registered email, which requires priori registration on the portal or use of a regional service card to get access credentials
- videochat with a call center operator
- or filling a complaint form
Now, it is great to have all these channels, but all I wanted was to CC somebody from the city government on my email to the garbage collection company. Unfortunately email addresses seem to be a very rare commodity, and communicating with the city must be deemed so important to require significant investment on the citizen’s part.
I wonder how much effort must have gone into conceiving and implementing a multi-channel strategy to then let down people on the simplest. It goes without saying that Milan has jumped on the open data bandwagon too, but I have little hope that this will make it really more open.
By the way, I checked whether either of them had a decent Facebook page: I couldn’t fine any, but maybe I should have invested more time to figure out.