Big companies and corporations have lost the human touch. The question is, when will humanity catch on, or like robotic sheep will we do whatever the business shepherds tell us, no matter how bad we are treated? I am talking from firsthand interaction here. Aren't you tired of having to talk to machines and sit waiting in queues that may not even really exist, while horrible music repeats itself over and over for eternity? How about having to talk to person after person as they try to find someone else who 'can' do the task that you need done? What about the machine that tells you to speak into the phone but can never properly interpret what you are saying? Or pushing buttons, how many numbers have you had to push before finally being told that the section you are looking for is vacant? Vacant, how about the humans you do finally get in contact with but for some strange reason know less about their job than you do?
I may sound pessimistic but I truly believe that human society is meant to evolve differently from this path of customer numbers and automatically generated notices. We are intelligent creatures, well, in many ways, and I just wonder why we haven't created systems for our own society that are more conducive to making our community a happier place to live in. I am definitely not against technological, financial, and material progress, but I do question the intentions of our corporate institutional leaders. It seems that as long as the person at the top of the hierarchal food chain's paycheck keeps increasing at a steady rate, customer service is no longer a priority. But then again, I reckon if the CEO of an insurance company has problems with their telephone line, they'd probably have the problem fixed in no time, as they have a direct line to the telecommunication CEO from one of the card-swapping sessions at their $500-a-head luncheons.
The thing that these leaders of society have forgotten is that without normal, average human customers, their empires would be quickly reduced to dust. I think one of the problems lies with us, those average people. The companies are so big and powerful that we have become apathetic, feeling that we are too small and insignificant to question their systems of interaction. We simply let them dictate how things work and go through all the rigmarole and red tape no matter how much it frustrates us. There was a time, and you can still find this in most small companies, when customers were treated with respect and as equals. "The customer is always right." This statement used to be very normal when discrepancies came up in our business practices. Now however, the customer is often treated as guilty before innocent, as if the average 'small' person is just a criminal who wants to leech off the righteous and just institutions.
The truth is, if we all stand together on an issue, human beings have been known to move mountains. Why don't we speak out and get these companies who spend so many millions of dollars on commercials telling us how friendly and helpful they are to be accountable for their actions? They could take some of those same millions and put them into employing more human beings to act as communicators, as well as informed positions that solve problems quickly and easily. More jobs for the community in general, and a more enjoyable life for all coming in contact with the companies in question: this is a win/win situation people! Happier customers who are being respected as equals means people will tell each other of the quality of the business; of course this equates to more customers, which means more profit for all.
The time has come to 'rehumanise' (cool word!) our social and business systems. Communication is always spouted as being the key to a positive relationship between family, friends, and lovers. We now need to adopt this model for how organizations and institutions relate to the wider community that actually created them with their investment, employment, and customer base. We all need to realize that we are all worthy and deserved of happy lives, lived via a construct of social systems that focuses on real human satisfaction.
Jesse S. Somer
Jesse S. Somer is a human, not a customer number, and definitely not a faceless commodity.