Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
wonderpup

Is It Just Me?

Recommended Posts

Having been accused of making sweeping statements based on purely subjective observations I will readily admit that-in this case- it's probably true.

But.. :D.. sometimes subjective experience can be symptomatic of a wider reality.

What I am observing is a general deterioration in that broad based category we call 'service'. And here comes the subjective bit- I have recently purchased and then returned two computers to Amazon- the first because the documentation was unusable due to water damage and the install disk had been tossed casually into the box in an unsealed envelope rendering it unusable due to surface damage- and the second-it's replacement- because it was stone dead right out of the box.

The returns process itself was in theory simple but in practice not so much- in the first instance the collection took place at 9 pm! The second collection simply never took place at all, resulting in a call to the euphemistically named 'customer services' line- which involved speaking to a man who was so resolute in his apathy it was almost a religious calling.

We finally resolved the mystery of the missing collection by the rather brilliant strategy of inputting into' the system' a new date and time for another collection- which sounds trivial but was a task that took the combined brains of both myself and the 'customer services' representative at least ten minutes of focused concentration in which terms like 'reference numbers' and ' booking id numbers' featured in a colorful danse macabre that left us both mentally exhausted.

But alas! It was all in vain- for no sooner has this new collection date been shoehorned into 'the system' than a ring at the door announced the arrival of the very delivery man who had been scheduled to collect the parcel the previous day- a feat of logistics that I had been assured only minutes before could not in fact be done- which is why a new collection date had been required. :huh:

Ok- trival stuff for sure- we all have tales like this to tell. But what struck me about this entire episode is that the people I was dealing with are of that new breed- the low paid 'precariate' who have no stake whatsoever in their jobs.the company that employs them or the customers they 'serve'

The drivers told me that they are paid about 60p per delivery, must buy their own fuel, supply their own vehicle and have no guarantee of work from one week to the next. And the 'customer services' guy was a case study in passive aggressive pathology

The overwhelming message these people expressed was the central truth of their existence- they do not give a f*ck.

And I don't blame them- why should they?

And who was it that packed a computer for delivery with documents that were clearly warped and illegible due to having been immersed in water- and tossed in a disk that was clearly unsealed and likely to suffer damage in transit? Some one who did not give a f*ck?

And how did a brand new computer arrive at it's destination DOE? Was it not tested before shipping? Or did some harrassed delivery driver toss the thing into a van with all the indifference of a man who does not give a f*ck?

I'm not here trying to talk these people down- they are treated like sh*t and so return the compliment. What I am noticing more and more though is that previously reliable elements of my world- like Amazon- seem to be degenerating from within- because the people they employ have been trashed in terms of their living standards and their self respect- and as the saying goes- garbage in/garbage out.

So is it just me? Or is anyone else noticing that at almost every point where one might hope to encounter a helpful and engaged provider of service one is increasingly met with people who just don't give a f*ck?

And yes- I know that to some degree this has always been true- but of late it seems to have accelerated markedly- to the point where any encounter with a provider of service is either a frantic melee of guerilla upselling that must be ruthlessly put down- or a long march though vistas of the impossible as the 'service' person explains in agonizing detail exactly why your request is forever beyond the capacity of both themselves and-of course- 'the system' to fulfill.

I am now scared to buy a computer. If I use Amazon I risk yet another twilight zone experience with the returns dept if anything goes wrong. On the other hand there is the truly nightmare scenario of dealing with the static charged staff of PC world- or even more horrible- the true depths of horror that is the Argos returns procedure-( because computers are not covered by their normal returns guarantee.)

So it seems to me that there is a massive hidden cost to this race to the bottom in wages and conditions- treating people as disposable garbage results in a holistic degradation of those who practice it- in degrading their staff they degrade themselves and all that they seek to create.

Edited by wonderpup

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having been accused of making sweeping statements based on purely subjective observations I will readily admit that-in this case- it's probably true.

But.. :D.. sometimes subjective experience can be symptomatic of a wider reality.

What I am observing is a general deterioration in that broad based category we call 'service'. And here comes the subjective bit- I have recently purchased and then returned two computers to Amazon- the first because the documentation was unusable due to water damage and the install disk had been tossed casually into the box in an unsealed envelope rendering it unusable due to surface damage- and the second-it's replacement- because it was stone dead right out of the box.

The returns process itself was in theory simple but in practice not so much- in the first instance the collection took place at 9 pm! The second collection simply never took place at all, resulting in a call to the euphemistically named 'customer services' line- which involved speaking to a man who was so resolute in his apathy it was almost a religious calling.

We finally resolved the mystery of the missing collection by the rather brilliant strategy of inputting into' the system' a new date and time for another collection- which sounds trivial but was a task that took the combined brains of both myself and the 'customer services' representative at least ten minutes of focused concentration in which terms like 'reference numbers' and ' booking id numbers' featured in a colorful danse macabre that left us both mentally exhausted.

But alas! It was all in vain- for no sooner has this new collection date been shoehorned into 'the system' than a ring at the door announced the arrival of the very delivery man who had been scheduled to collect the parcel the previous day- a feat of logistics that I had been assured only minutes before could not in fact be done- which is why a new collection date had been required. :huh:

Ok- trival stuff for sure- we all have tales like this to tell. But what struck me about this entire episode is that the people I was dealing with are of that new breed- the low paid 'precariate' who have no stake whatsoever in their jobs.the company that employs them or the customers they 'serve'

The drivers told me that they are paid about 60p per delivery, must buy their own fuel, supply their own vehicle and have no guarantee of work from one week to the next. And the 'customer services' guy was a case study in passive aggressive pathology

The overwhelming message these people expressed was the central truth of their existence- they do not give a f*ck.

And I don't blame them- why should they?

And who was it that packed a computer for delivery with documents that were clearly warped and illegible due to having been immersed in water- and tossed in a disk that was clearly unsealed and likely to suffer damage in transit? Some one who did not give a f*ck?

And how did a brand new computer arrive at it's destination DOE? Was it not tested before shipping? Or did some harrassed delivery driver toss the thing into a van with all the indifference of a man who does not give a f*ck?

I'm not here trying to talk these people down- they are treated like sh*t and so return the compliment. What I am noticing more and more though is that previously reliable elements of my world- like Amazon- seem to be degenerating from within- because the people they employ have been trashed in terms of their living standards and their self respect- and as the saying goes- garbage in/garbage out.

So is it just me? Or is anyone else noticing that at almost every point where one might hope to encounter a helpful and engaged provider of service one is increasingly met with people who just don't give a f*ck?

And yes- I know that to some degree this has always been true- but of late it seems to have accelerated markedly- to the point where any encounter with a provider of service is either a frantic melee of guerilla upselling that must be ruthlessly put down- or a long march though vistas of the impossible as the 'service' person explains in agonizing detail exactly why your request is forever beyond the capacity of both themselves and-of course- 'the system' to fulfill.

I am now scared to buy a computer. If I use Amazon I risk yet another twilight zone experience with the returns dept if anything goes wrong. On the other hand there is the truly nightmare scenario of dealing with the static charged staff of PC world- or even more horrible- the true depths of horror that is the Argos returns procedure-( because computers are not covered by their normal returns guarantee.)

So it seems to me that there is a massive hidden cost to this race to the bottom in wages and conditions- treating people as disposable garbage results in a holistic degradation of those who practice it- in degrading their staff they degrade themselves and all that they seek to create.

No it is not just you.....I am sure a number of us could give very similar stories, but staff are not like that in all companies and some companies have a mixture of good and the not so good, often they are not correctly trained with facts and processes and rather than say they don't know the answer to your query they guess or make it up, which often makes what could have been an easy matter to solve into a greater problem involving extra wasted time and effort on both parts......you soon suss out who they are. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went through three kindles before I got one that worked properly.

I don't think I was being unreasonably picky either, to want a product that actually functioned properly.

With those I carried them (two on the same day!) to a collect+ place because I didn't trust them to come and pick it up at a reasonable hour.

The thing is that amazon are not stupid, so either most people will just get those slightly dodgy kindles (light leaking on one of them and a dodgy touch screen on the other one) and just live with the defects or perhaps not notice.

Or have they just worked out that they can afford for X% of the units to be faulty if it means making them more cheaply and scrapping quality control, and "only" having to swap a small percentage of them (but two defective in a row makes me think that the fault rates must be quite high) Someone has done the calculation and worked out which road is more profitable. But have they factored in that I tell anyone who mentions amazon, my dull "three kindles" story and they exchange their own tales of woe about them to the point where their reputation for good quality and customer services must start taking a beating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have bought loads of stuff from amazon, and on the occasion that I have had to contact customer services they gave been pretty awesome. You click on a few links, someone calls you back pronto knowing exactly which item you are talking about and sorts the problem.

That said, I don't think I'd buy a laptop from them, I tend to pay the premium and go to john Lewis for the bigger ticket items so you get the 2 year guarantee and better customer service. For every day items though, the small inconvenience of having to complain occasional certainly beats driving to the shops.

As far as the original point of the OP though, I think you get a mix wherever you go, and knowing how to handle people generally gets you what you want. If you don't like the service somewhere, you are free to go elsewhere (HMRC excluded).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the kind of degradation of people I had in mind;

For a real-life Hunger Games, look no further than your local bank

The dystopian fantasy starring Jennifer Lawrence is a lot like real life – if you're a high-street bank employee

There is where it resembles the Hunger Games. What you have at the big banks is large numbers of staff, often on low salaries, whose only shot at getting bonuses, payrises or keeping their jobs comes down to flogging customers more financial rubbish. Retail banking staff have been coerced into turning predatory – and we are their feedstock. Consider the story Andrew Tyrie's banking commission was told this January by Dominic Hook of the Unite, of banks with notice boards "that list all the individuals, with what they have sold in the past week and who is top and who is bottom". Or consider last week's anecdote from the watchdog about the Lloyds adviser who sold himself, his wife and his colleague a product none of them needed just to get his numbers up.

A friend of mine worked in a Lloyds-TSB call centre in the middle of the noughties. Mary (not her real name) recalls how colleagues, struggling to raise families on meagre wages, just got on with the job of selling. Not so Mary; which eventually led to a manager listening in on her calls. A woman rang to inform the bank that her husband had recently died. At the end of the conversation, the manager asked why Mary had missed the opportunity to offer the new widow an extended overdraft, or loan. "Funerals are expensive, you know," she recalls him saying.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/dec/16/high-street-banking-hunger-games-jennifer-lawrence?CMP=twt_gu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have bought loads of stuff from amazon, and on the occasion that I have had to contact customer services they gave been pretty awesome. You click on a few links, someone calls you back pronto knowing exactly which item you are talking about and sorts the problem.

I have had good experiences with Amazon in the past- but recently less so- and the way they treat their warehouse staff seems to be following the same pattern as we see elsewhere- not good.

And the sad truth is that no matter how good the core staff might be your reputation is only as good as the weakest link in the supply chain- and if that happens to be a pissed off delivery driver working for a third party cheapskate outfit that pays peanuts then the cutting edge of your multi million dollar image control apparatus is likely to be as blunt as a plastic picnic knife.

For me Amazon was the poster child of how to get it right- but it seems the temptation to exploit their people or hire third parties that do so has proved too strong for them and they are now in the process of demolishing their hard won reputation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the problems I've had with Amazon have been with marketplace traders: an inadequately packaged DOA hard drive, wrong edition of boxed software or card charged and goods never delivered. The traders have so far jumped to resolve issues and I suppose the online reviews give them a reason to.

Delivery services on the other hand... I really hate Citylink.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is that we're in a race to the bottom.

Most purchases are made based on someones calculation of price/stock availability/trust of supplier.

There are few prizes for people that offer high services levels - and companies that get something like that to work can fall off a cliff when a recession starts.

One exception is boutiques, spas etc. people will pay the high service costs for the experience.

It's possible some retailers may start to bring it back but now is not the time.

It will be interesting to see what Gen Y do with the high street.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Service" has definitely been deteriorating for some time and for some reason the deterioration of service along with the increase of "attitude" has accelerated in the last few months.

Not everywhere but it's getting increasingly noticeable and widespread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having been accused of making sweeping statements based on purely subjective observations I will readily admit that-in this case- it's probably true.

But.. :D.. sometimes subjective experience can be symptomatic of a wider reality.

:D

Ive not had a problem with amazon before and use them a fair bit.

Ultimately I think most people would say that the low prices and convenience are positives enough that they outweigh the negatives when you are unlucky.

The prices wouldn't be so cheap if there was a better service to pay for, and when you shop at amazon you've made that choice between price & service.

In the realm of computers capitalism has created a competitor to the idea of lowest price/least service wins in the form of apple and their stores, you will pay a premium but you will get more for it. Buy a relatively cheap windows machine online and get it delivered and you take a bit of a chance in both the quality of product and of service. You were unlucky, but it happens. You'd be paying more if it didn't, and you have that choice.

Edited by cybernoid

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have bought loads of stuff from amazon, and on the occasion that I have had to contact customer services they gave been pretty awesome. You click on a few links, someone calls you back pronto knowing exactly which item you are talking about and sorts the problem.

That said, I don't think I'd buy a laptop from them, I tend to pay the premium and go to john Lewis for the bigger ticket items so you get the 2 year guarantee and better customer service. For every day items though, the small inconvenience of having to complain occasional certainly beats driving to the shops.

As far as the original point of the OP though, I think you get a mix wherever you go, and knowing how to handle people generally gets you what you want. If you don't like the service somewhere, you are free to go elsewhere (HMRC excluded).

+10. John Lewis every time. They actually care about customers. I don't work for them either.

Edited by juvenal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This from the article I quoted above- but I thought it was worth a post of it's own;

According to Unite, salaries for the lowest grade staff at Lloyds begin at £13,000; the next grade up starts at £17,000; the median salary is now £27,000. Those two bands account for something like 45% of all Lloyds employees. With pay at those levels, you are not just talking about tax credits: 40% of staff in those two bands say they rely on overtime or a second income to make ends meet. Around 12% say they have had to use payday loans in the past year. Another staff member emailed me last week to say that some of her colleagues were using food banks. In 2012, the boss of Lloyds, Antonio Horta-Osorio, took home £3.4m in cash, pension and benefits. Last month, he was lined up for a further £2m bonus in shares. Meanwhile, the people selling you loans have to go to payday lenders; bankers visiting foodbanks. This is a white-collar Hunger Games.

Bank employees using payday lenders? So how come city bonus's are up 44% this year?

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
when you shop at amazon you've made that choice between price & service.

That's true now- but not in the past, which is the point I am making. We are seeing a corrosion of service that is near ubiquitous- symptomatic-in my view- of the generic contempt that many business's have developed toward those they employ.

You are correct that technology is facilitating this process- the ability to track and scrutinise via tech is engendering a new kind of tyranny inside these companies- a new sense of entitlement on the part of the organisation that their employees exist to be exploited to the maximum extent possible in the name of 'efficiency'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Service" has definitely been deteriorating for some time and for some reason the deterioration of service along with the increase of "attitude" has accelerated in the last few months.

Not everywhere but it's getting increasingly noticeable and widespread.

Ive noticed this too mainly the attitude some of the young sales staff almost seem to think its beneath them to serve paying customers, they're never gonna pay off that underwater basket weaving £40k degree with that attitude in the workplace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have bought loads of stuff from amazon, and on the occasion that I have had to contact customer services they gave been pretty awesome. You click on a few links, someone calls you back pronto knowing exactly which item you are talking about and sorts the problem.

That said, I don't think I'd buy a laptop from them, I tend to pay the premium and go to john Lewis for the bigger ticket items so you get the 2 year guarantee and better customer service. For every day items though, the small inconvenience of having to complain occasional certainly beats driving to the shops.

As far as the original point of the OP though, I think you get a mix wherever you go, and knowing how to handle people generally gets you what you want. If you don't like the service somewhere, you are free to go elsewhere (HMRC excluded).

I have bought loads of stuff from Amazon and never had to send anything back. The convenience of sitting at my office desk, choosing stuff off the internet with a few clicks of the mouse and having it delivered to my office desk the next day is in my opinion remarkable.

I remember the days of traipsing round the shops to buy stuff and I really don't want to go back there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive noticed this too mainly the attitude some of the young sales staff almost seem to think its beneath them to serve paying customers, they're never gonna pay off that underwater basket weaving £40k degree with that attitude in the workplace.

I wouldn`t work for most of these companies ...let alone have an attitude. People are a commodity today, that includes customers & staff!.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thread isn't about Amazon.

I've noticed a decline in service but I thought it was just me that felt like this simply because I run my own business and always try to offer the best service possible. My standards are high.

I always strive to help my customers the best way possible for example with special orders on stuff they can't get hold of, particularly in quantity. Some of this stuff is available to the big high street chains and I've been told a number of times lately by customers that they are being advised that lines have been discontinued simply because the shops can't be bothered.

It's the apathy that gets to me the most when dealing with shop staff or call centres.

There aren't many people on that extra mile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thread isn't about Amazon.

I've noticed a decline in service but I thought it was just me that felt like this simply because I run my own business and always try to offer the best service possible. My standards are high.

I always strive to help my customers the best way possible for example with special orders on stuff they can't get hold of, particularly in quantity. Some of this stuff is available to the big high street chains and I've been told a number of times lately by customers that they are being advised that lines have been discontinued simply because the shops can't be bothered.

It's the apathy that gets to me the most when dealing with shop staff or call centres.

There aren't many people on that extra mile.

Most customers are driven purely on price now so service is expensive and doesn't add a lot of value. I get annoyed with some of my mates walking round loads of shops trying stuff on etc then buying it online to save a couple of quid. Going to destroy all the shops which i still think is a bad thing. people need to get out the house sometimes and meet other people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:D

Ive not had a problem with amazon before and use them a fair bit.

Ultimately I think most people would say that the low prices and convenience are positives enough that they outweigh the negatives when you are unlucky.

The prices wouldn't be so cheap if there was a better service to pay for, and when you shop at amazon you've made that choice between price & service.

In the realm of computers capitalism has created a competitor to the idea of lowest price/least service wins in the form of apple and their stores, you will pay a premium but you will get more for it. Buy a relatively cheap windows machine online and get it delivered and you take a bit of a chance in both the quality of product and of service. You were unlucky, but it happens. You'd be paying more if it didn't, and you have that choice.

I buy lots of computers through the proper channels....they arrive properly boxed and covered by warranty.

I pay and charge a decent price for them.

Its nonsense to say Apple are one quality and PCs another, when people have a choice to pick up refurbs and other grey products in the PC market and Apple do not give people the choice..

If you pay for NEW product in either range, that is what you get.

Edited by Bloo Loo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had good experiences with Amazon in the past- but recently less so- and the way they treat their warehouse staff seems to be following the same pattern as we see elsewhere- not good.

And the sad truth is that no matter how good the core staff might be your reputation is only as good as the weakest link in the supply chain- and if that happens to be a pissed off delivery driver working for a third party cheapskate outfit that pays peanuts then the cutting edge of your multi million dollar image control apparatus is likely to be as blunt as a plastic picnic knife.

For me Amazon was the poster child of how to get it right- but it seems the temptation to exploit their people or hire third parties that do so has proved too strong for them and they are now in the process of demolishing their hard won reputation.

I've made it a point lately to try to make Amazon lose as much money as possible. When they start paying their taxes, I'll change my behaviour. The social contract works both ways.

I've discovered that they are essentially a source of free household cleaning items. If you order bulk liquids from Amazon, they don't want you to return them. If there's a problem with the shipment (and there usually is), rather than try to schedule a return, Amazon will simply credit your account for what you paid or they will send a second shipment for free.

Amazon's business model is built upon goodwill. They're running a store where no one is manning the checkout counter. When they leave deliveries at a random neighbours house because they can't be bothered to find your address, why should you feel compelled to pay them for it? They can ship a replacement. Amazon has abused society's goodwill to the point that they don't deserve any themselves. Everyone should start following the exact letter of the law, and only pay Amazon what they are minimally contractually obligated to pay, and nothing more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thread isn't about Amazon.

I've noticed a decline in service but I thought it was just me that felt like this simply because I run my own business and always try to offer the best service possible. My standards are high.

I always strive to help my customers the best way possible for example with special orders on stuff they can't get hold of, particularly in quantity. Some of this stuff is available to the big high street chains and I've been told a number of times lately by customers that they are being advised that lines have been discontinued simply because the shops can't be bothered.

It's the apathy that gets to me the most when dealing with shop staff or call centres.

There aren't many people on that extra mile.

What annoys me is the way that staff in big companies are often deliberately motivated to rip you off.

Try buying a PC in PC world. The upselling attempts - useless insurance, Norton Malware, multiple anti-virus, MS Office - are unbelievable.

Or we have the way nPower managed to recalculate my direct debits as being 50% more over the year than the estimated bill.

Or gNatWest suddenly deciding to add a 'usage fee' to my current account agreed overdraft..

Agreed that small independent shops will usually do much better.. Indeed, my experience of small independants on eBay has been generally good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • The Prime Minister stated that there were three Brexit options available to the UK:   211 members have voted

    1. 1. Which of the Prime Minister's options would you choose?


      • Leave with the negotiated deal
      • Remain
      • Leave with no deal

    Please sign in or register to vote in this poll. View topic


×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.