Time and the Service Industry

One of my bigger gripes lately has been the service industry’s lack of actual service. By itself, I guess the lack of service is about what you’d expect, since companies have gotten so large that you’re generally dealing with some anonymous “customer service” representative, and most of them don’t have any real stake in the business.

But the trend that’s disturbing me most lately is the utter disregard that “service” companies have for my time. Rather than do things right the first time, they seem to routinely do things the quickest and shoddiest way, which means that at some point I’ll have to spend a couple hours making things right later.

Here are some recent examples from the past week or two:

The common theme here seems to be that these companies’ time is much more valuable than mine is. They’re certainly allowed to think that, but it sure doesn’t encourage me to be a faithful customer. If there were any alternative to Qwest for local phone service (including DSL), I’d be using it now (though sadly, all the phone companies seem to suck – it’s just a question of who sucks least). I’m going to be avoiding the Home Depot for the forseeable future. As for the Parkview Cafe, I probably won’t be back there, either.

On the other hand, there’s Best Buy. I bought a DirecTiVo there on the 21st, and it was supposed to be in last Friday. When I stopped in at the store to pick it up, I had to wait almost an hour to find out that they couldn’t find it in the store. But that didn’t really bother me at all. I think the difference is that I don’t really expect service from Best Buy, whereas the others were all places I was going to in an attempt to save me some time. I just went back on Saturday and picked up the unit, and was happily surprised to find that they actually had it. It’s all a matter of expectations, I guess.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:08:48.