••• The Big Brother's, oops, i mean Apple's Gazette ••• A Sophisticated Periodical with Panache and a Sense of Humor
When efficiency matters
It’s the greatest country in the world with opportunities galore for everyone – PLENTY of jobs with less and less Americans who want to do them, thus jobs are given to new immigrants ( someone has to do them) or out-sourced ( someone has to do them).
It’s no surprise more and more jobs are outsourced to folks in countries “trained” to do these jobs “efficiently” and like doing them; from picking up the phones in India for U.S. companies, be it customer service, tech help or ordering something for Christmas.
I just came back from a friend who quickly made a Christmas order via phone at “Brookstone” while i was at his home. It’s important to note that this friend is a ” Radio announcer” who speaks slow and distinctly. When relating his credit card number to the customer service lady on the other end he slowly stated the numbers, pronouncing them distinctly.
“You card is invalid”, replied the lady having taken the order and the credit card number down.
“Impossible”, says my friend, “let me give it to you again”, and he repeated the numbers as on his credit card, slowly and distinctly.
“I’m sorry, but the card is invalid”, responds the customer service lady once again.
” Would you read the numbers back to me as you’ve written them down, please ?” asks my friend. The lady repeats the numbers and… has them wrong. My friend relates that one of the numbers is not “96” rather “69”, then gives her the entire numbers as on his credit card once again.
“It’s invalid, sir”, she says.
My friend, once again, asks her to repeat the numbers and AGAIN she’d taken them down in the wrong order putting the 3 before the 2, thus 3249 instead of 2349 – my friend correcting her mistake once again.
Finally she has it correct, but… forgets to ask him for the billing address = she won’t even be able to bill the credit card without the billing address thus the order won’t go through. He calls again and asks for a supervisor tells him what occurred, he checks the order on his computer and adds the billing address and assures my friend to take note of the complaint.
…is it any wonder we’re out-sourcing jobs to folks willing to do them and do them “efficiently” ? I’m no longer surprised. It’s become more and more difficult to find good employees and the Brookstone order example is not a rarity – it happens a lot and not just with Brookstone but many other companies and has happened to uncountable people placing their order via phone. Not surprising either our economy is sluggish; with orders not being able to be placed because of incapable customer service employees, it results in less sales.
Not everyone is as patient as my friend who repeated it again and again, then made a complaint. He could just as well have said, “Forget about it” and call Harry and David to sent some apples as a Christmas gift. But Harry and David is not what it used to be, either.
Repeatedly orders haven’t made it on time for Christmas in the last few years and the pears aren’t nearly as delicious as they used to be. Aside from efficiency ” QUALITY” is lacking in many U.S. products, as well. I switched from Harry and David to a chocolate company for specific business gifts a few years ago, because i don’t want to look bad as though i forgot folks for Christmas because of other people’s ( business employees) inefficiency and mistakes.
After leaving my friend’s home i strolled around some stores including J.Crew, looking for Christmas presents. A young sales man approached me asking if i needed help.
” Not yet”, i said.
” Let me know when you need help”, he suggested, then asks for my name, ” What’s your name ?”
Now why would a sales man need to know “my” name, i wondered, aside from the fact that it’s terrible etiquette to ask for someone’s name before introducing oneself first ?
I told him light-heartedly that’s it’s impolite to ask someone’s name before introducing oneself first, to which he told me his first name. He then asked for mine and i told him.
After looking around before leaving the store i was curious if this sort of approach was a scripted routine taught by management, thus a company-policy sales-pitch, or his individual approach, thus asked him very nicely and light heatedly.
It’s his approach, he told me. I then suggested it’s not effective, ( and not appropriate etiquette) to ask customers for their name and there’s no need to ask customers for their name in the first place, especially not the first name. No one goes to a store to make friends rather to “buy” something. But since sales men get a percentage on their sales it’s good for the customer to know their names, to be able to call them if needing assistance.
Good customers may after a while be greeted by their “last” name, “Good morning Mrs. Smith, – How are you Mr. Smith” – but buddy-buddy attitude toward customers is a no-no at ALL times. They’re “customers”, after all, not regulars at the neighborhood pub.
Quality products, efficiency and “respect” toward customers is what creates a strong economy. That’s how it used be when the United States of America was NUMBER 1 in the world and the most desired and best place to live in the world. Now it’s number 35 on that list.
As for my once favorite clothing stores, the Gap and Banana Republic; a lot of the clothing ( Old Navy, especially ) smells as though it’s been in a warehouse near a plastic factory for 30 years where paint thinner was made. Aside from that, HEADLESS mannequins wearing prime color ( Yellow, Red, Green) pants, may be a way to stop traffic nowadays, but i just don’t feel that “headless” yet to wear clothing worn by “headless” mannequins.
Most women and men could easier see themselves in the clothing worn by the once attractive, almost human-like, looking mannequins with chiseled features and great coifs adorning store windows of clothing and department stores who seem to have disappeared around the same time when incompetence ( in many cases) replaced “efficiency”.
Holiday Sales down again this year ? Clothing, too ? For my part i’m not surprised. What i have in my closet from 20 years ago still fits, the quality is superior to what’s sold and manufactured nowadays and it’s more fashionable than anything i’ve seen in recent years, much of what looks like sales-left-overs from rural Azerbaijan or Chechnya.
I’ll wait ’till the mannequins with a head on their shoulders return, ‘cuz i could see myself easier in the clothing they wore, or rather,… we all wanted to look like them…