As the rule of law deteriorates, at least in the U.S., and law enforcement embraces selective enforcement, people should notice this is spreading to business. Businesses are not interested in hearing from customers. If a complaint is lodged, it is difficult to get it past a customer service person. As “online” becomes ubiquitous and bricks and mortar becomes passe’, it will only get worse. People I have queried agree that customer service is deteriorating, but agreement on a cause is doubtful. Some blame millennials (they have become an easy scapegoat), others suggest it is all the Boomers fault, and still others blame ideological beliefs.
My mantra of “We are Doomed” continues and proof of this is validated by the direction of customer service. Yes, I said direction. I don’t think it is by accident. Corporations simply don’t care. They know some customers will leave or be unhappy and hire customer service people to endure their tirades. It makes no difference if the customer is right, they would rather that customer leave than be forced to actually fix the issue.
In some cases, I feel for the employee. These employees are being asked to do a multitude of functions, including managing people, dealing with customers, AND performing a staff member job. They are asked to do this for what amounts to a few hundred dollars more a year and a nice title for the Curriculum Vitae.
It is not worth it.
In others, they know exactly what they signed up for and either needed the job and will tell the customer whatever will get them off the phone, or are clueless as to how customer service works. My fear is the later is a growing population. It appears to be of little consequence if the customer is right or not, but only to remove them from the que. If too many customers are lost, that is a marketing issue.
But the consumer suffers.
In more and more situations, competition is dwindling. In a few short years, the proverbial big boys will run and own everything, doubly so for anything tech related. This lack of competition not only erodes customer service incentive, but inevitably results in quality and service degradations. There have been books and articles showing it is true.
We continue to ignore it.
This blog has criticized Tik Tok, not due to its technological prowess, to the contrary, kudos to its developers. The criticism is steeped in its Chinese Government ownership and the data it collects on U.S. (and global) citizens. If any app like this was adopted in China, it would quickly be eradicated.
But we don’t care.
Where are U.S. tech developers? Where is the vaunted Silicon Valley leadership expressing concern for this data capture? How come local developers have not created competition for Tik Tok that the U.S. government could get behind. If a U.S. citizen must choose which country collects its data, it would be logical to guess that at least a few would prefer the U.S. to China, but maybe not. Where is the other competition? Where is Amazon’s rival? It simply keeps on buying companies. Recently it was healthcare but what is next? It bought an automatic vacuum company, what oversight devices will be installed in the next generation sweeper?
Once upon a time, the U.S. was the gold standard for customer service and much of this was due to the number of choices that existed for a host of products and service. As these choices are bought out and forced to liquidate, customer service will continue its demise. This systemic downward spiral will spread. The way out is to create competition.
It can be done.