I am often amused by the need for companies, organizations and even individuals to try to snow us with what they perceive to be better ways to serve the public.
The other day I called a company that I bought a lamp from online to try to get a missing piece. The number on the bill stated that it was customer service. From the get go the voice mail system was a nightmare. I pressed so many numbers that I began to think I was in Las Vegas playing with a slot machine. When I finally got to the right place, a voice announced that a “relationship manager” would be right with me. As I waited a faux human continually told me that someone would be right with me and that there were now two other people ahead of me. I can see this working in a doctors’ office, but all that did for me was make me wonder how long it was going to take the other two people to get what they needed. In between the announcements another clone described some other products I might want to buy, and if that wasn’t enough chaos, hellacious music blared in the background. I desperately waited hoping I wouldn’t have to be medicated after I hung up.
Finally, a real person began talking and told me they would get the part to me ASAP! This took at least a half an hour and it is not the first time I have experienced this kind of craziness. What insane group of people came up with “relationship manager”? When I called about the lamp I was not looking for anyone to help me through a relationship crisis. What’s wrong with customer service? I am a customer and I need service. Simple and to the point. But simple is no longer available. I remember a time when you called a number and a “REAL” person answered. If they were busy they called you back. Now companies have rid themselves of a lot of people in lieu of puppets that have some resemblance to the human voice but can’t think beyond their programming. They also have to come up with lots of ‘doublespeak” to confuse and stress you so that you begin to think you might be the crazy one. I remember hearing this craziness years ago when I was told by a company executive that I had been hired to boost morale because they were downsizing. I thought he was talking about putting everyone on a diet. But they had substituted “downsizing” for firing, as if that would make everyone who was getting the boot feel better. Let’s bring back real people giving real service. Now wouldn’t that help reduce stress?