I am from the generation of rotary telephones, busy signals when trying to phone your friend for the latest school gossip, phone cords that were too short to move the phone anywhere so you’d have to either sit on the floor or pull up a chair to talk, and of course from the school of real-life customer service people. You know, those folks that actually pick up the phone when you call without having to select a bunch of options and then hope you’ll get a “real” person on the other end.
On a side note, since we’re talking about the days of yore, I remember the typewriter and being so frustrated when my dad would look over my “But I worked so hard on this” paper, and put marks all over it only for me to have to retype the whole thing again. I also remember life without a microwave, only having a very limited amount of television channels (yes, before cable) and, of course, a camera that required film, which you would in turn take to be developed having to wait a few days to finally view those precious, family memories.
But, I must say that waiting is sometimes good for the soul.
Whether it was waiting for pictures to be developed, waiting until you got home to talk on the phone vs. sending a text in the car, waiting for food to actually cook from scratch without eating a meal that’s been microwaved to death or even learning to have patience when needing to rewrite a paper using the most beloved typewriter, waiting gives one time to think, reflect, imagine and prepare.
I know that as the world turns and evolves, technological advancements present themselves in a way that is intriguing and we quickly find ourselves chasing after the “shiny object.” Of course the growth that we’ve seen over the years, over generations actually, have been phenomenal. I simply marvel over the computer every time I see my electric typewriter sitting neatly tucked away on the top shelf of my closet. A lot of time was spent on that piece of machinery but the computer… well, it’s a class act. Writing a blog post like this is a breeze. When I make a mistake (and I make plenty), I can make a quick edit without retyping the entire thing. I love it.
But, let’s talk about the automation of customer service. For me, there has never been anything more gratifying than picking up the phone and speaking to a kind and considerate person waiting to help me through my major trial. They take the time to listen and understand. They are willing to help in any way possible. And, they even -on their own without prompting – find someone to help if they can’t seem to find a solution. Wow. What a great day and time that was.
What happened to those days? Why did it change? Was it something we did? Something we said? Was someone trying to make sure a family member had a job lined up (just kidding)?
I’ve got it. It’s the day and age of automation. Of being more efficient. Of better assisting the customer and more thoroughly understanding their needs before they are routed off to “a real person,” which by the way is after 10 minutes or more of “push option 3 for this department or option 2 for that department.”
And, what brainiac thought this was a good idea?
For those of us from the “good old fashioned days of customer service,” this has been a nightmare.
We still pay top dollar when we purchase items at our local stores and would like to expect top customer service in return. Not only do we want to know that someone will expeditiously handle our requests, but we need to know that someone is on the other end of the phone who not only cares, but actually knows what they’re talking about and are not reading from a script.
I surely miss those days.
So, for those of you out there that miss the “good old fashioned days” and have the power to make a change, please hear our cry. Take the time to train your customer service folks. Show them how to be resourceful. Help them understand when they need to escalate an issue. And, for those of you who offer “live chat” support… make sure that your customer service professionals, yes, professionals, know how to use proper grammar and can spell correctly.
This is a day of advancement, of growth, and professionalism at its finest. We want to know that the person (however long it takes us to get to them) knows their job and knows how to help us.
One day we all look back at these times and smile, either in understanding or despair. In either case, keep growing world. Keep preparing us for a better tomorrow. But, take time to breathe, to reflect and to be patient. That’s where the real treasures of life lie and growth begins.
I’d love to hear about some of your own customer service stories.