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Have you called your cable company lately and told them you are having a problem with their service? If your experience is anything like mine, you go from client to service team member before you know it. 

It takes you 20 minutes to speak to a live person, 10 minutes to explain what is going on, and then they ask you to perform several tasks like unplugging the box and rebooting the router, and logging on to your account so that you can change some of the settings. 

If you have had this happen to you then you know it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to get your service back and you now have lost that time working for the cable company. I don’t remember them sending me a check for my time. I also don’t remember signing up for this job when I purchased the services from the cable company. It seems to me that these companies no longer have to hire people to service their products because they now have us to do that work for them. It’s strange.

Are we a Self-Service Society?

I think so. We have gone from building great products to becoming a Service Society. My fear is that we have now become a Self-Service Society and all of this has happened in my lifetime. 

“I need it, and I need it now” has become the way and technology has fooled us into believing that we can achieve that.

Looking around I see this type of thing in every aspect of life. Easy Pass has replaced Toll Takers. Mobile phones, computer “service” companies, Apps, online shopping, etc are the new areas of interest. 

You have certainly – especially throughout quarantine and into 2021 – purchased something online. Everything is usually fine as long as the product gets to your door. I had several products not delivered to me recently and when I called the company I ordered from I was introduced to the world of shipping. The customer service person asked me to go speak to my post office, check with my neighbors, and if that did not work check with the shipping company? I thought that was their job to make sure I received what they shipped but I guess maybe I am asking too much. In addition, if you have an issue with something you were charged for in error it becomes a real issue to get this resolved, and you end up spending hours tracking things down because you now have to prove you are right. 

As a society, it seems that we are paying more, and getting less and less service. This might not be as much of a problem for a younger generation that understands the technical aspects of how to work for these companies but what about the people that are not technical in nature?  

This goes beyond reducing the size of the Hershey Bar and charging more for less.  This is changing the dynamic of the core of what we are about, and more and more companies are moving to this model. 

I’m curious if you think I’m right or off-base. As an agency owner, how are you balancing the line between efficiency, automation, self-service, and truly remarkable service?