Thursday, July 01, 2004

Out and About

Today I was out and about, and was struck by how much easier some errands can be done online or on the phone, without leaving your home -- i.e., banking, registration for classes, buying tickets, etc.
I have been thinking about it, and the breakdown in person vs. the online experience comes down to one thing -- customer service and training for employees on how to interact with customers. I experienced some frustrating encounters, as well as some pleasant, well-trained encounters. However, even the people who were fumbling at their assigned tasks can make up for their incompetence by being cordial. I am developing a growing list of places that I will not be returning to because I felt like I was not treated as nicely as I would have hoped. Thumbs ups to Washington Mutual Bank, Eastwind, Phoenix Theatre Company and Starbuck's. Thumbs down to Compass Bank.
Of course, that is not to say, online endeavors are without their unpleasant outcomes. I also have a list of online vendors I will no longer patronize, for reasons such as difficult ordering processes or no response from customer service. Non-functional telephone systems and mediocre customer service on the phone have also turned me away from other businesses. The good thing about doing your business online is that you don't have to avoid really bad drivers in the parking lots, who are bound and determined to put dings in your car with their doors.