Machine or Human? Is Human Customer Service a Thing of the Past?
We have become a machine-driven society. Are we losing the human touch in all things customer service? I think we are. And, not always for the good.
Our main credit union/bank is in another city. It has been so easy to handle all banking affairs online and via mobile banking. Until it wasn’t. We encountered a problem which needed to be solved by going to a branch and speaking to someone in person.
No problem, I thought. Our credit union has ‘affiliate’ or ‘sister’ branches across the nation. So, I located one and off I went to get our problem solved. When I arrived, I figured it would be easier to speak with someone in person if I went inside so, I parked and entered the bank.
Imagine my surprise when I walked in and all I saw at what used to be teller stations was machines very similar to the ones you find in the drive-through. In fact, I might as well have gone through the drive-through because there was not one teller station that wasn’t filled with a machine. And, other than a greeter, there were no humans in sight with the exception of someone at the desk where you apply for a new account or a loan. And, there were people waiting in line to speak with that person.
This got me to thinking about how much we have become machine-driven and how we are losing the human-touch when it comes to customer service. Think about it. Nearly every company you have to call these days has an autoresponder and you have to answer questions to get to the person or department you need to speak with. And, if you don’t answer the questions correctly, you will either end up in the wrong department or disconnected or back at the main menu, where you have to start completely over.
Some answering machines don’t even give you the option to speak with an ‘operator’ or someone who could direct you to the appropriate department or person and you end up going in circles trying to reach someone who can actually help you. I can’t tell you how much time I have wasted on the phone trying to reach a human! And, how many times I’ve reached a human only to be told it was the wrong human! Trying to get the right person, or any person for that matter, on the phone has caused my hair to go grey prematurely. (That’s my story, anyway!)
Have you ever tried to argue with an autoresponder? I have. They always win, by the way.
Aside from reaching a human on the phone, take a look at our stores. Particularly the grocery stores. How many checkout lanes have been replaced with automated machines where you can scan and purchase your items without a person. Admittedly, I don’t use these very often because I’m usually the one the machine will freeze up on and I will need the help of a human, after all. It’s just so much quicker sometimes to have someone else scan my products for me.
Just about everywhere I go there is a machine that has taken over where a human-being used to be. I understand this is not always bad. Sometimes it is quicker to use an electronic device to get quick results. But when something goes wrong and you need to speak to a person to resolve the issue, humans are hard to find.
So, I’m curious. What are your feelings about our machine-driven society? Are you for it or against it? Is there a happy medium? Has customer service as we know it taken a back seat to some sort of electronic device or machine? Do you miss having human interactions at stores and on the phone? Comment below and let me know your thoughts.
Vivian is a software instructor and consultant specializing in Microsoft Excel and Access and WordPress. She is available for workshops for your company or department as well as one-to-one specialized consulting. Contact her here or schedule you FREE Consultation Call here.