The Impersonal Personal Touch of Customer Service

Remember when good customer service meant something? Gosh, I sound like an old fogey. “In my day…” LOL

I was complaining to the husband about how horrible it is to go places because there is no personal connection in stores anymore. You pump gas yourself. You self check at the grocery store. You tag your own bags at the airport when you check them. Pei Wei prefers you use their app or order online instead of calling the store and placing the order. Panera wants you to use their self-serve kiosk instead of talking to, you know, a live person to place your order. Of course that’s still an option but it’s always my luck to get behind the trio of people who order 230498 things and have special requests on every single one of them and then they want to pay with three different cards—gift card, debit card, credit card.

And at the grocery store when I have four items and don’t want to self-check because it’s a pain in the ass, I get in the express lane only to get behind the lady who has 40 coupons for six items and pays with a check. Good lord.

At my bank, when I want to simply deposit a check and actually take the time to park and walk inside, they make me use the ATM machine because I don’t have any other business than depositing a check.

Seriously? Does it cost extra to have some face time with the teller?

Hey, I’m all for being time efficient and stuff but where does it end? Husband was telling me he could see us moving toward having replicators make our food—ala Star Trek. He said, “Think about. All you’d have to do is program a computer to do the work and it’d be done.”

Huh.

Would that cut down on overhead? Human error? I’m not so sure. I think you lose something by having everything so automated these days. You lose that social interaction that’s vital to us as humans. Okay, so I admit I’m not a people person but even *I* need human interaction every now and then.

I also have a big complaint about companies who make you jump through their excessive phone tree hoops to get to a live person. That commercial where the guy is on the phone shouting, “REPRESENTATIVE”? That’s totally me. I hit zero a million times or shout into the phone (if it’s voice activated) OPERATOR until I actually get a person. I don’t want to spend 4 hours trying to navigate through a voice mail system to get to a person. I want a person. Period.

And then when I get a person, I expect my issue to be resolved promptly. Because if I’m calling you there is a reason. Like when Dell arbitrarily canceled my order—I’d ordered a cheap laptop for like $300 and opened an account with them specifically to get their no interest financing. My order never shipped and when I got online to find out why, I discovered it was canceled. So I called. And after finally getting to someone who spoke broken English, I learned the reason they canceled my order was…no reason. She didn’t know why. She said I had plenty of credit and did I want to reinstate the order? Sure, I say. “Oh, let me transfer you to customer service.” Wait. What? Apparently I was talking to Finance. I got transferred to customer service but it turned out that was the wrong department and they transferred me again. I hung up. It just wasn’t worth it. Dell can keep their credit and their laptop.

I guess I’m just disappointed with the way employees treat customers these days. Of course, that’s not ALL clerks. I’ve had some fantastic experiences with sales people, too. The really bad ones, though, are the ones that stick out in my mind.

What about you? Have any customer service horror stories?

By Michelle

I love dragons, castles, fairies and elves. I drink coffee, wine and martinis. Fantasy, paranormal and contemporary romance author. Proud Texan.