TWITTER: METAMODERNISM AND THE DIGITAL NIGHTMARES OF CUSTOMER SERVICE
“The age of digital communications and social media (Twitter, etc.) have increased the expectations around customer service and the ability to get results quickly. Unfortunately, in the move to becoming a digital organization, some firms have difficulty replicating the 1:1 service customers once enjoyed.” – Jim Marous
CONTACT TWITTER? SURELY YOU JEST
By EJ Wickes
Image from retiredindelaware.blogspot.com
We don’t have to bang rocks together for fire anymore and everything in life can be pretty much accessed from sitting on our derrieres. At least when you had to bang a rock or cut a tree and you had ‘technical’ difficulties you either had to bang faster or chop harder. The problem was in your hands. A flat tire? That used to be very simple, but new designs make getting a spare tire out of some vehicles an exercise in physics these days, but you can get it done. It’s negotiable through the tactile engagement between the organism and the object.
If you have issues with IT or social media, getting it resolved is a fate worse than death to someone who’s used to picking up a wrench or a paintbrush. Or even a “phone”. You find out one day that your website’s URL has been flagged as a “dangerous link” by a Twitter robot, for God knows how long? In turn your consider how many hits have been discouraged from visiting your site and it infuriates you.
“Poor digital experience. As many as 70 percent of all remote customer-care interactions in the telecom sector are digital. That should be good news, as our research found e-care consumers are more satisfied than those using traditional channels for customer service, and that top-performing companies realize savings thanks to a reduction in call volumes. Yet some companies moving to digital actually experience call-volume increases, which results in higher costs. That’s because the experience in most e-care channels does not match high customer expectations. And when customers find their questions are not resolved through digital channels, they pick up the phone.” – Source
The older you get, the more you tend to complain about change. Yes, we remember grand-pop whistling through his teeth as he talked about the good old days, simpler times and we’d role our eyes in uncomfortable but compassionate approval. We often overlook how science and technology has advanced more in his lifetime than we could possibly imagine. I was talking to a friend of mine from San Francisco last night. He was talking about being part of an old breed and the generational changes he observes.
Character, humanism or critical thinking becomes sacrificed for the acquisition of technical aptitude. As connected and empathetic as we try to be, something inherently human is always lost through digital communication. It has no soul, no expressive quality beyond emoticons; digital emotions sent by automated proxy or upper case letters to symbolize rage. If you have Skype or a similar program – after how many years was the camera phone everything we never wanted, or expected it to be? Was I the only person watching Star Trek? Was I the only one who was expecting a two way visual communication device and not a phone nailed to a picture taking camera?
“Nail two things together that have never been nailed together before and some schmuck will buy it.” – George Carlin
I think my friend described it quite well in so many words: “It’s like wanting to make rye toast and your Microsoft Toaster XP only came with White Bread 2.0. There’s a rye bread program out there, but it’s not compatible with Toaster XP. So now you have to either purchase the proprietary Microsoft Rye program or settle for a free-ware version of Sly-Rye 3.0. Now – since all of this tech is constantly in development, expecting anything resembling intuitive thinking is always out of the question.”
But there’s another glitch in the system; for when you acquire a free plugin or or a free download, expecting it to do what you acquired it to do in the first place is presumptuous, and when you say something about it, you find that you should have purchased the upgraded version to begin with, just so you’ll have a program that actually delivers on its developer’s promise.
It’s now the accepted norm that when someone or something doesn’t deliver we choose to justify it with a price tag, while throwing our ethics and principles out the window. Money is more valuable than human character. It is the prime mover of life. “Well, it’s free! Why would you expect it to work like it should?” Or, “I volunteered to help you, but since you’re not paying me, you’re only going to get my minimal attention and half-assed efforts.”
It is the robot that’s calling the shots for customer service anymore; so you may have to submit a support ticket. But only if you’re a registered member of Microsoft Toaster Forum. To do that you have to set up an account to get your API key, license, purchase code; enter some ID, whatever just to ask a question. The reason you want to ask a question is because the pages and pages of FAQ’s never come close to isolating your problem in any “intuitive” way to begin with. You are still no closer to “having your rye toast and eating it too”, than you were when you started your digital exodus days prior.
In the age of communication we see nothing of the sort. Yes we can send lighting quick emails and communiques, but does anyone open your emails and actually read them? No. Or, rarely. Intuitive conversations are becoming obsolete with impersonal texting. We as a species still think it’s effective to communicate personal problems or relationship issues via phone text, in lieu of visual observations of body language, facial expression, or verbalized tones and inflections.
“A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study.”
– Chinese Proverb
The dichotomy is that we can access almost all of the knowledge on Earth digitally as each future generation becomes more detached from the organic and emotional world around them. A human needs to communicate with another human to effectively solve human problems. Automated warning systems and ridiculously designed customer support systems are nothing more than frustrating and ineffective.
From all my experience it would appear that they prefer to complicate and make the system as difficult to navigate and communicate with them as possible; to discourage any interaction, accountability or problem solving on their part at all. In the grand age of digital communication, cognizant and tactile communication between the members of our species has become obsolete.