The Slow, Agonizing Death of Customer Service.

As someone who’s worked in the service industry for over two decades, I will attest to the fact that most customers suck, and some, I’m convinced, live to make the service industry professionals’ lives a living hell.  This, of course, can lead to service professionals’ overall discontent over their jobs, which can lead to poor customer service.  Which then leads to customer dissatisfaction.  Etcetera, etcetera.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Okay, so bad customer service is never that bad.  Not always.

Chalk it up to lack of training and low expectations, I suppose.  And maybe even geography.  Service in Portland, Oregon, for instance, will be way different– better or worse– than that  in, say, New York City or Los Angeles.

And it may also be culturally influenced.  Service in Japan (or most anywhere in Asia, for that matter) is traditionally outstanding.  Although it is not completely immune to lesser versions, it would still blow the Westerners’ version out of the water.

What’s more frustrating is that, these days, it seems people in the service industry may not even be aware that they are providing service that is less than stellar.  Is it because more and more consumer needs are being met without intermediaries via self-service kiosks or online transactions?  The human interface being diminished or, in most cases, eliminated altogether, that the very notion of customer service has become foreign?  I don’t know if I completely buy that, but I’m sure it’s a contributor.

With the way nearly everything going to full automation in the “civilized world,” perhaps customer service will soon be a thing of the past.  I’m sure some will argue that it already is.


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January 2011
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