A helpsome CXmas tale

 

Chapter I – A nightmare before Christmas

Blog Part 1.png

"This is a nightmare," Santa Claus thought while anxiously pulling at his curly white beard. He had so many unread messages on every app on his phone that the tiny red notification badges simply could not display the full figures anymore. Even Wordfeud was blowing up with messages.
 

He wondered if it had been a mistake to accept Christmas wishes via his social media this year. Initially, he had thought it would be so much easier for everyone – plus he had done some calculations on how much CO2 could be saved by going digital. After all, the North Pole was his home, and it was melting at an alarmingly fast pace. Santa's estimate had been a shocking amount significantly higher than several tons, which had really sealed the deal for him.
 
His own current meltdown, however, seemed more and more unstoppable with every bing, pling, ding, cling, and zing coming from his phone. Was he about to ruin Christmas for the many, many children who had been so nice all year? Not only were there more children than ever, but they had also behaved nicer than ever, and had more wishes than ever. It really was the perfect storm combined with his last-minute naïve decision to try and save the planet.
 
Santa found only minor comfort in the fact that quite a few of the wish lists he had managed to read before his inboxes exploded, actually included 'fixing the world'. So, if everything else failed, he had at least contributed in some small part to that. He imagined excited children unwrapping the message that their only gift this year was a 0.001% improvement of the global carbon footprint. Merry Christmas. Excitement turned into tears. Quite possibly enough tears to make the global sea levels rise several millimetres. 
 
No, he decided. He needed help. Desperately. 
 
The constant buzzing and loud alerts from his phone had increased notably. He picked up the phone and glanced at the screen where banners with sad and angry emojis and one-star reviews now outnumbered the Christmas wishes. "Worst experience ever", read one. "No reply for several days," read another. "You have won a futuristic hair dryer," a third one from Instagram promised, but also that notification was quickly washed down the screen by a new wave of disappointment coming from everywhere. 
 
"This is a nightmare," he repeated. But he knew he was wide awake.
 
Who could he turn to? Fortunately, Santa was a man of many friends. Ignoring the upsetting content on the screen, he quickly unlocked his phone, went to the contacts app, and immediately started scrolling.

 

Chapter 2 – Do they know it's Christmas?

Blog Part 2.png

Santa Claus did not need to scroll far before the name of the first person he thought could help him showed. Sadly, Aquaman had not picked up. The Avengers were busy too. Same story with every superhero from Batman to Wonder Woman whose answering machines had kindly informed him they were currently busy stopping dangerous criminals threatening world peace.

 

Although he had to agree that world peace was fairly important, Santa could not help but think if they only knew it was Christmas that was at stake here. Do they know it is Christmas time at all?
 
His contact list held the phone numbers of some state leaders too and for a brief moment he contemplated if he could convince them to postpone Christmas. Just this one time. As he realised that feat would require more than one politician agreeing with another, and Christmas was not that far away, he knew he had to come up with something else.
 
Determined to find a solution, he opened his ElfElfGo search engine. But what should he possibly search for? Slowly, he started typing:
 
"Help…"
 
By now, he was convinced no single person could provide the help he needed. A whole team was required. Preferably an entire house full of experts, he thought and subconsciously continued typing:
 
"…house"
 
Results started showing before he even pressed enter, because… that is sort of how search engines work nowadays.
 
Anyway, helphouse.io was the top result, so Santa clicked and began reading eagerly. 
 
Meanwhile at the helphouse HQ in the heart of Odense, Denmark, CEO Hans Andersen (unrelated to the fairy tale author) had just fallen victim of a vicious prank carried out by his secret office santa. A gift had been sitting on Hans’ desk as he had returned from a meeting. The gift contained a small portion of what he had assumed were traditional Danish Christmas cookies called peppernuts although they are not supposed to contain any pepper. However, the ones Hans was now coughing out onto his desk were indeed very peppery.
 
A prank like that tended to put everyone on high alert because who knew what could happen next and to whooooooom?
 
*cue suspenseful music*
 
The answer to that question is no-one! Because… that is sort of the point of the whole game. 
 
So, when the phone rang, and account executive Jonas Poulsen answered, he was immediately sceptical when the person calling introduced himself as Santa Claus.
 
"Sure, and I'm Donald Duck", Jonas said laughing.
 
"Oh, have you stopped doing cartoons now, Donald?" Santa asked undeterred with his deep calm voice at the other end of the line.
 
"Who is this?" Jonas asked peering around the office to see if he could find out which one of his colleagues was his secret santa trying to prank him right now. The prank was so obvious that it seemed silly. But at least it was not peppery peppernuts, Jonas mused.
 
When Santa repeated his introduction, Jonas decided to play along and asked: "How can we help you today, Santa Claus?", which raised some eyebrows at the desks nearby.
 
"I'll tell you in a second, Donald," Santa replied, "but could you please stop that suspenseful music playing in the background?"
 
*suspenseful music stopped*

 

Chapter 3 – Wham

Blog Part 3.png

After several exchanges back and forth between Santa Claus and helphouse.io account executive Jonas Poulsen of questions like "Are you really Santa Claus?" and "So, you are not really Donald Duck?", the pair had actually talked business.

 

And when Jonas eventually hung up the phone slightly less than a few hours later, he looked at all his colleagues who had gathered around his desk with puzzled looks on their faces.

CEO Hans Andersen's tongue was still burning from the epic pepper attack back in chapter two, remember? Hans certainly remembered! He managed to speak just one word before succumbing to another coughing fit:

"Who…"

"…on earth was that?" Hans' brother and company CPO Carl Hye Thaisen completed the question on behalf of everyone.
Jonas looked at his notepad. He had filled several pages with scribbles that were barely legible even to himself. He cleared his throat and said:

"That was just a new client of ours. You may have heard of him. His name is Santa Claus. And he needs ourhelp to save Christmas."
Wham! Someone dropped a pin, and everybody was able to hear it. Literally.

After a few seconds, the silence was replaced by an excited chatter among the motivated colleagues, and questions began to emerge: How? When? What? Why? Are we going to the North Pole?

Jonas recapped his conversation with Santa Claus, sharing the problems, issues, and concerns of a premature digitalisation that were currently threatening Christmas for everyone before he concluded:

"Santa needs a customised Zendesk solution with omnichannel support and all sorts of triggers and automations. We may also have to build an integration for Wordfeud chat. But we need to work fast."

The last sentence was unnecessary, as everyone completely understood the urgency. Quite a few had children of their own who were expecting a visit from Santa in the very near future.

Tasks were delegated left and right – and project Zantadesk was officially launched in an incredibly unofficial way.
As everyone got to work, the only one left without a task was gert.io – helphouse.io's very own privacy policy bot whose preferred pronouns were it/its. gert.io had been just as excited as its more human-like colleagues about the prominent new client and the simultaneously interesting and somewhat daunting task of saving Christmas.

Although it had never received a Christmas present before, gert.io knew of the concept of Christmas, and the helpsome bot wanted to help. But it had not gotten the chance. So, instead, it just continued redacting and anonymising the Zendesk tickets of numerous other helphouse.io clients while it hovered past Jonas' desk. 

"Hey!" Jonas exclaimed, "gert.io, I completely forgot. How would you like a trip to the North Pole?"
"01011001 01100101 01110011 00101100 00100000 01110000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110011 01100101 00100001," the bot eagerly replied in binary.

"This must be what it feels like to get a Christmas present," gert.io thought while Jonas booked its plane ticket. After all, the North Pole was not considered to be within hovering distance.
 

 

Chapter 4 – Thank gert it's Christmas

Blog Part 4.png

"Zantadesk is a true Christmas miracle," Santa Claus thought to himself after the video meeting with helphouse.io had ended. The team had gone through all the features, options, and functions of the highly customised Zendesk solution, which had been built in a matter of days in order to save Christmas.

The initial talk with Jonas from helphouse.io had put Santa's mind very much at ease. Even though the surge of notifications by no means had ceased, he knew a solution was coming. A brilliant solution.

Excited, Santa understood as much as the opportunities were endless, but also that he himself actually did not need to do much. The system would take care of almost everything. He liked the sound of that. And now it was finally ready to launch.
How he wished his wife was there to experience it. She had left him a few days ago … to do a TED Talk about the new perceptions of naughtiness and niceness in children of today. He could not wait to hear her tell him about it all.

Fortunately, he was in no way alone. In the vast workshop, his diligent team of elves were happily humming Christmas tunes and all very eager to get to work. In the stables, Rudolph and his fellow reindeer were doing crossfit – in preparation for the busy nights that were fast approaching. Like all other days, today was leg day. And hoof day. Never forget the hooves!
And then there was gert.io. Santa's new friend all the way from Odense, Denmark, who had come to handle all privacy matters, which had been a further relief to him, as he found GDPR, CCPA, APEC CBPR and all the other legislative acronyms to be somewhat more than a little bit confusing. 

Although Santa's binary was rather rusty, it was certainly nice to have the helpsome bot hover about the house while it seamlessly computed huge amounts of data.
"Should we get this Zantadesk fired up?" Santa asked gert.io as he sat down in front of the big computer monitor and tapped his Zendesk password: [redacted by gert.io]. That put the system to work straightaway. From everywhere in the world, from every possible channel, from every kid the wishes poured in faster than Santa could read them.
Filters sorted the incoming messages. Triggers routed specific wishes directly to the relevant elves in the workshop who either started manufacturing the toy or picked the item from the endless warehouse shelves and wrapped it up beautifully. Automated replies were sent to the children, kindly thanking them for their wishes and for being so nice and patient. On the screen mounted in the stables, the reindeer watched as destinations began to appear on the world map, laying out the ideal route. 

Meanwhile, gert.io was as busy as a bot can be making sure no personal information slipped through. And Santa was just amazed with the whole thing. The notifications badges on his phone were now counting down instead.
This went on until late in the evening of 23 December where the last red badge disappeared as the number had reached zero. Now, (almost) every wish of every child lay ready on the sleigh, which was much more than very packed indeed.
"I would not have made it without you, gert.io – or your colleagues.io, of course," Santa Claus said with a warm smile as he climbed onto the sleigh.

"Do you want to come?" he asked. His wife could not join him this year, because of COVID restrictions that had left her stranded in the USA for days now. When the sleigh was empty, he would come and pick her up, he had promised and looked forward to isolating back home when the job was done.
gert.io hovered on board with a thrilled, yet anonymous bleep. And off they went. Across the starry sky. First stop on Santa's route this year: Odense.

*cue Queen's Christmas classic*
"It's been a long hard year
But now it's Christmas
Yes, it's Christmas
Thank gert it's Christmas"