Customer service is a fairy tale

We showcase Customer Service as the shining beacon of our age. We would soon add it to fundamental rights. We judge how urbane we are by the customer service we receive. To tell ourselves how far are we from those cave dwellers.

The basic logical fallacy all of us commit is to presume that people working as employees actually give a shit about other people as customers. That, our opinions as customers matter to employees. That they would listen to our anger, our rudeness, our screaming, and they would act upon it to “serve us”.

Too many self help books, too many branding theories, too many “Yes you can” manuals, too many Customer is king coaches around. And we believe it is all for us. To benefit us.

And of course, we never separate the morons, the chutiyas from this all encompassing “us”. “All humans are born equal”, of course. Our capitalist economy makes us feel more comfortable in hordes (while making us believe that we in-fact believe in the opposite). We conveniently however forget that those providing this service is also a part of this same “us”. As lazy as you. As self righteous as me. As expecting the world in reward for unjust effort as the whole crowd.

Somewhere deep within, don’t all of us believe that a capitalist economy would support a do-gooder. That a company that looks after it’s customers would get rewarded. And that the company bosses and the employees also buy into that theory? (Don’t we believe the same thing about democracy?)

Like the theory that “good things happen to good people”.

Like Santa Claus.


Gullible dumbass choots.

There is an epic dialogue in Anurag Kashyap’s BLACK FRIDAY, when the police commissioner is interrogating one of the foot soldiers responsible for the bomb blasts, in custody. The prisoner is beat but is spouting religious bullshit (Allah humaare saath tha) and blaming Tiger Memon of taking advantage of their anger.

Maria says, “Tiger ne tumhein dharm ke naam par chutiya banaya. Maloom hai kyon? Kyonki tum chutiye HO!

That is the essence of the “us” mentality.

Employees initiate projects because it gives them a good rating at the end of the year (Remember Arjun Singh proposing crippling educational reservations just before he died? Remember Mayawati proposing division of UP in 4 parts on the last day of the assembly? )

Completing them is someone else’s shit (and WHY would someone else clean up the other fucker’s shit? Why should they?). By the time it comes around, it is someone else’s headache, someone else’s placard, someone else’s KPI. People do not think in terms of a project’s time period. People working as employees think of a bare basic covering of their asses. Nothing more. Those employees who do gullibly buy into the larger let’s serve the customer get brought down to mother earth quickly enough by receiving their own version of customer service (their annual appraisals).

They are dumb. But they understand quickly. You cannot design KPIs for intent. Trust me.

The error is in the very construction of the system. Unavoidable. Irreparable. As soon as a corporation is just large enough so that the customer facing guy is an employee (and for that matter, the delivering guy is an employee) instead of someone who actually has a stake in the customer being happy.

What I do not understand is the dichotomy in beliefs across this same “us”. Across internet forums, across rabid fans of A Game of Thrones, there is a general accepted understanding that Ned Stark was a dumbass. What he did was stupid. The honor is all blah blah and well honorable, but how can someone be that stupid?

No one comprehends in this day and age (and I say this day and age because I am living in this day and age. I do not believe in hearsay that it mattered in some other day and age) why would some one put their neck on line for honor. It is generally accepted that one needs to be smart. And one needs to cover one’s ass.

And yet THAT is what we expect our customer service to be like. We expect honor.

How dumb are “we”?

One thought on “Customer service is a fairy tale

  1. Pingback: Obsession with The Wire « Gonzo – Using an unconventional, exaggerated and highly subjective style, often when the reporter is part of the story

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