Tolerable Customer Service

Employee of the Month
Employee of the Month

Most of the time, we don’t want to talk to people. When we go to the supermarket, we self-checkout at the registers. We go to restaurants and place orders on tablets, without having to talk to a waiter. The invention of SMS advanced society by leaps and bounds, because we could break up with our girlfriends without enduring the screaming and crying.

In this wonderful world where no one wants to talk to anyone, it’s easy to provide delightful customer service. I’m stoked when I call a toll-free number and a human answers.

Only humans can provide delightful customer service. No one will ever commend the self-checkout kiosk at Safeway for excellent customer service. No one will ever tell the 18 automated menus answering my credit card’s service hotline that they did a good job.

Companies outsource service to robots and foreign call centers because it’s adequate. They’re not going for outstanding, here. They go for outstanding in areas like price and technology. We’ve gotten pretty good at bringing cheap crap and instant gratification to the consumer, but overall user experience is governed by Amdahl’s Law, just like everything else in life.

Choose where to be outstanding, and where to be just adequate.

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