Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Customer Service is Dead

I sit logged in to Skill City from 9am until about 11pm every day just to talk to the people who use it and make sure they have somebody to go to if they have questions or problems.

When the tidal wave of Penny Arcade people came in I greeted them all individually and made sure they know who I was and that I was there for them.

I was a bit surprised by how few said anything back to me, or ever asked me for help. Then Neala comes up and says that just about everybody is chatting with her. Why not me I wonder?

She asked around and got her answer: they thought I was bot.

Its a very very sad commentary on the state of human interaction with business that when somebody gets a personal greeting they assume its a robot and are so sure of their assumption they never actually check.

I did get one person who said "Is this a bot?" and I said "No. Last time I checked I was a person." He then requested that I take a Turing test. I informed him of my failure rate at tests, especially when put on the spot like that, and he decided I was indeed not a bot.

I think the reason that customer service is dead at so many businesses is because the management of those businesses is dead. Their zombie attitude, or even blatant hostility towards their customers, spreads to the workers. Much like zombies spread their undead scourge. I like zombie movies.

Lately even the ennui at the local Subway sandwich shop has made me no longer desire to eat there. Walking in to get a sandwich is like walking in to some kind of concentration camp where hollow eyes and sunken cheeks turn in your direction as you enter, pleading with you to simply end their misery.

Granted if they hate it so bad, they should go get another job. But it wouldn't hurt the employer to make the place a little more tolerable either. The place has NO air conditioning and the poor sandwich creators stand with their backs to the heat belching ovens all day. Ugh. No wonder they scowl at me when I ask for my bland sandwich to be toasted, in hopes of coaxing out some hidden flavor.

This morning I tried to visit the people who just moved in next door to us. They are a CAD translation software company called Elysium Inc. For those playing along at home, thats the place Greek Mythology equates to the Christian idea of heaven. I walked in with a little bag of chocolates and said hello so some of the programmers. They said hi, and I got that sense of Subway Face from them. That same sort of soul drained look, and it isn't even past 4pm yet. The female coder said I should take my gift to "the boss" so I did.

This man attacked me verbally, told me I was a solicitor, commanded me to leave his office, and then stood up and herded me towards the door before I could finish a sentence. I managed to say over my shoulder I was the business owner next door and wanted to give him a present. He told me that his business was not a fun business, it was serious, and to get out as he shoved me towards the exit.

Customer service is dead because people like him run companies. I have never met him before, and yet he insulted me, insulted my business, wouldn't let me even speak, and was physically abusive to a total stranger who was quite literally bearing gifts.

Take heed my readers. Should you start your own business, your attitude towards people is the same one your employees will wear towards your customers.

Can I swear? Can I say that assholes who run businesses have businesses full of assholes? I probably shouldn't. Swearing is crass.

1 comment:

illgnosis said...

We need to make them a sign "This is not a fun business!!" with an angry face icon.. hahaah .. I am glad they are assholes.. cause that story is priceless.