@John - thanks.
@Filip - thanks for example. This stuff happens all the time an it’s something that just would not be acceptable on a product (you would return it as faulty) but services often get away with it.
@Paul - you make an important point. I’m not sure if you’re talking about web designers controlling what they can control or service providers. If it’s the former, it’s important to be sure you’re not just “polishing a turd” when working on a project to try and mask the problems of what is clearly a flawed service elsewhere. If it’s the service provider, it’s true, not everything is in their control. But they do have the power to mitigate the effects of when things go wrong. How companies deal with and recover from failure is often as, if not more, important than just getting it right in he first place. It’s also important that marketing doesn’t hype and promise something the service can’t deliver. We’re sold the dream of accessing our media everywhere from the cloud, for example, but crappy territory licensing screws that up all the time. We’re sold the ease of flying due to self check-in via smart phones, but there’s poor or no backup when it goes wrong, as Filip’s example shows. One could write a long list of examples here, from mobile broadband flat rates that aren’t, five star hotels that aren’t, things that “just work” that don’t.
The challenge is to evidence service quality - the old joke about “if Microsoft Windows was a car…” resonates because we recognise that it is challenging to assess the quality of services and intangible artefacts like software (which are, I would argue, services in any case) before it’s too late. Insurance, pensions and healthcare services are other prime examples, as are lawyers (who, in Australia at least, you can’t sue if they turn out to be useless and lose your case. You still have to pay them).