Artificial Unintelligence

The younger and younger people I see in positions in major organizations—client service phone lines, retail sales, airline desk agents—the poorer and poorer judgment I encounter. It doesn’t seem to be a matter of smarts so much as a matter of seeing what they do as merely a (short-term) job and not a customer support function. There’s also an over-reliance on technology instead of one’s brain.

In the coffee shop yesterday morning, the “barista” asked me twice about the size of the drink, what kind of milk, what kind of sweetener, and hot or cold. I told her all that the first time, but she just wasn’t really in the moment. I don’t think she’s really ever in any moment.


One thought on “Artificial Unintelligence

  1. I keep making this same observation everywhere. But when I challenge business people on it, they all attack it saying my experience was just a “one-off” and that collectively they have some of the best service and highest levels of engagement anywhere on the planet.

    “Oh really? Well no one else has said anything/reported anything like this.” (you know that’s a lie)

    “Well this is the first I’ve been told about this.” (lie also).

    As if it’s my fault for their poor service! The attitude is so thick you can cut it with a dull knife. I’ve spent the better part of this week at home catching up on errands like dry cleaning, haircut, car maintenance, shopping, etc…about a dozen different types of businesses and every single one created completely unnecessary amounts of friction for the end customer and specifically my transactions with them.

    The front-line employees are all ill equipped to deal with exigencies outside of “policy” or are simply not intelligent enough to understand the issues.

    I also never blame the front-line employee, I go straight to their leadership, who acknowledge their deficiencies but don’t seem to care enough to want to do anything about them.

    But like you always say Alan, more work for us.

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