customer no-service…

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Not too many years ago, in my book, there was something called “Customer Service”. Companies prided themselves on how they treated customers, challenging each other to provide the best experiences.

Gas Stations…

Gas stations used to hire teenagers to wash windows, check car oil, pump gas, and collect payment. While the work wasn’t always perfect, and you can’t really check the oil after the car has been running for a while, the concept was to give the ultimate best for the customers.

And it also provided an opportunity for teenagers and young adults to gain experience working a job and earning money. It gave them a sense of pride, importance, and a real world opportunity to learn how to handle their hard-earned money.

Then, to make more profit, gas stations changed their model to forcing the customers to pump their own gas, wash their own windows, check their own oil, and make the payments to a machine or person inside the store.

Moving Companies…

Moving companies used to come to the house, go through what you had, make a checklist, go back to the office and figure up how much room it would take on a truck to fill your stuff, determine the number and size of boxes needed to pack, how much fuel was needed to drive to the destination, and how many people it would take to load, unload, and drive your goods from the old to the new residence.

Now, you have to do your own checklist and walk-through, try to figure out what furniture classification everything goes in, determine the subjective size of cabinets, shelving, storage units, lamps, file cabinets, etc. No, they are not standard sizes. And every company goes through a long, painfully detailed list of every piece of furniture you have, deciding which category they fall under an dhow much room they will take up based on your description. Those sizes may or may not be accurate if you are not a detailed person yourself.

Then you cross your fingers while they add up the costs based on their computer program, and give you an estimated cost. Estimated.

Retail stores…

These stores are going the same way as the gas stations. While many have registers open with live people manning them, most of the larger big box stores are pushing for customers doing their own checkout with a single person overseeing a group of registers.

If you have questions or problems with the machines, it takes time to hunt someone down, or have them try to input a sales item that rang up regular price, or fix the jammed equipment.

No, “Good morning! How are you? Did you find everything you needed?”

Instead those voices are replaced with an automated recording that says the same things to each customer. It cheapens the “We really care about you” to a canned “Welcome Valued Customer” to every single person.

Not to mention that they now track each customer based on sales using digital transactions. And then advertise or preorder products based on previous purchases.

Even inventory as nearly all automated for replenishment. But that is only as good as the individual scanning what is on the shelves. It further eliminates the need for human interaction. Or employees.

If no one has income because they are displaced, who will buy the goods?

Automated customer service menus…

Have you ever noticed that the first thing most of these automated telephone services say is, “Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed.”? Every time you call, no matter how long it’s been between calls, the voice always says the same thing. And the menus are rarely different.

But what is worse is trying to find a human being to explain the details of what you need or want. Automated systems can only choose from whatever is preprogrammed in their little computer memory. And most of the time it can’t find what you are looking for if it is very specific.

Trying to find a human being is nearly impossible for many. Hitting zero sometimes gets you to a live operator, but sometimes it’s 6, or 9, or some random number.

A website used to collect the phone numbers and buttons to hit in order to locate a human being. The industry moved so rapidly into this “customer service” sector, that most of that information is now defunct.


I once encountered a very Orwellian experience one year at a bank. The branch used to be inside a grocery store not far from where I worked. It was manned with living human beings behind a high counter, and provided mostly full-service banking.

Suddenly, the swapped out the people for a large kiosk. Inside the kiosk was a huge screen that contained a teller living in some other state. They operated the automated cash and service kiosk remotely.

Of course, if it broke, there was no human being around to fix it when you needed it, so your transaction could be caught in cyber space.

The strangest part was seeing a human being, live, inside a box, living elsewhere.


We like to travel in luxury in this country. And the car industry has accommodated our demands.

Air conditioning in certain parts of the country are a necessity unless you can stand driving in 110° F heat in full sun at 25 miles per hour during rush hour traffic. Or even just driving in the afternoon across town without traffic. The heat, and sometimes high humidity, make it tremendously uncomfortable. Especially during thunderstorms with a now wet interior.

Little lights on outside mirrors are supposed to tell the drivers that a car is in the lane next to them within hitting range. But the distances allowed by the manufacturers is usually pretty short. Traveling at speeds of 70 miles per hour using those devices is scary to the other drivers as those modernized cars move into your lane only inches from your bumper.

And if the bumper where the sensors reside is damaged, their sensing will be off – sometimes by quite a dangerous bit.

The more gadgets on the cars, such as computerized comfort systems, GPS, and audio systems, the more the chance of them breaking down. Computers run everything from location devices, to gas mileage controls, to exhaust systems. Sensors riddle the guts of cars. And they go out with regularity, if you keep your car long enough.

Not to many years ago, you could buy a car with roll down windows, a radio, air conditioning, and maybe a CD player. No gadgets.

The engine ran without computer modules and extensive sensors in every part of its metal (and plastic) anatomy. No GPS systems tracked you. Paper maps guided you to your destination or long distance travels.

Tools such as printed TripTiks from AAA would also provide you pre-established reservations at lodging along the way. That was true customer service. It offloaded the burden of taking time out of your own busy day to set up all the details and planning.

You can still get them, but in person at offices (if you can find one) or through an app.

Travel Industry…

American Automobile Association (aka AAA) used to have phenomenal customer service. If your car broke down, you were assured of towing or minor mechanical assistance from independent contractors in the area. Discounts for lodging, travel tickets for airlines and car rentals, large theme parks and even some dining were available.

Hotels and motels (short for motor hotels that dotted the highways) were inexpensive. Motel 6 used to be $6 a night, and we used them frequently when traveling cross country. The expensive hotels were around $65 per night, and that was really luxurious.

Now, travel agencies are all but defunct. You can find them online, but the experience is far from an in-person conversation. Brochures that you could mull over and throw on your coffee table to think about, has been replaced by web sites with colored pictures that you have to click on and scroll through, bookmarking if you want to return to them for future reference.

The problem is, if it is out of site, it is out of mind. Full colored brochures on your coffee table or desk is still within eyesight.

Airlines have made it “easier” for customers to check in and out using their smart phones.

While it appears easier, the ease is based on a cost model by corporations to cut costs. The lower amount of personnel at a service desk means longer lines if you have questions or want to check in luggage.

Lack of personalized attention…

No matter how you slice it, if you are interacting with a computer, you are not interacting with a human being. If you can even get a human being, they are often living in another country reading from scripts. “I understand your frustration, so-in-so” drones on in their customer service relationships. But they really don’t know who you are, live in a different society, and can’t really relate to your frustrations. They have nothing in which to base that statement.

It’s part of the script.

My dream…

I have a dream that one day people will be actually allowed to help people on a personalized basis. In all industries, and all services.

And the experiences they businesses want for their customers would be based on a true desire to keep them satisfied with the level of personalized interaction they receive as well as quality of product.

Not for the sake of profit, but for the sake of compassion.

Businesses have grown too large and top-heavy. Corporate offices are filled with young minds who have not experienced human interaction face-to-face. They are accustomed to text messaging, emails, social media, but not reality.

And they base their suggestions and ideas on their own personal experiences. Which isn’t based on human interaction in a face-to-face setting.

The companies go for these ideas because they can gain a great profit margin by eliminating people from their staff. After all, their data will back that up.

The quality of goods went from carefully crafted products that lasted for decades, to the consumer mentality of quick, cheaply made, and easily replaced items. Good for the corporations’ bottom line, but not so good for the customer whose income is reducing yearly because of growing inflation…and, in some cases, hyperinflation.

In the end…

The large companies will not last much longer. Humanity is getting increasingly tired of being dictated to by faceless, corporate dictocrats. These large firms are being steadily exposed to corruption, greed, and being in lock-step with the wished on governmental entities.

Right now, small mom-and-pop businesses able to compete in the marketplace without higher costs and unending regulations. The regulations are often imposed on the industries by larger corporations that are able to absorb the expenses, and take a toll on the little guy.

But it will not last forever. History shows that those higher tolls on a society fail in the end.

Human dignity…

Humanity craves recognition. Each individual wants to be acknowledged for their importance and self-worth. Not in a prideful way, but simply because they want to know that a business they are dealing with really values them as a customer.

It will return. And it is coming back. It cannot be stopped. No matter what governments and global controllers desire, the humble human being will prevail.

And real customer service will once more become the norm.

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