Monday Miscellany – Customer Service and Natural Selection
Another Monday and as always various things are floating around in my mind. This week’s miscellaneous thoughts that are taking up brain space include customer service and survival of the fittest/natural selection.
Customer Service or lack thereof
Businesses that let customer service and experience slide often wind up going out of business. For example, you might start noticing a particular store is becoming sloppy. The nice neat stacks of clothing are a mess. You can’t find items where they are supposed to be. If you try to find someone to help you, you are unsuccessful. There is garbage on the floor or the floors are dirty. There aren’t enough cashiers to assist at check out. It’s pretty obvious when things are not going quite as well as they used to. Those stores usually don’t last much longer.
This is on my mind because the last two times I visited Target I noticed there were no actual cashiers. So the ten or 12 registers were empty and dark. There was, however, a set of about five or six self-serve registers and one customer service register where you could check out if you wanted to. Lines of people were waiting for both. So I got to thinking about why Target might be doing things this way.
I don’t believe this change is being done for the customers. I’m guessing perhaps Target is trying to reduce employee costs. If you don’t have a lot of registers open, you need less people and your costs could be lower. But making a decision such as this one does impact people. And not only the employees, but all the customers as well. As a customer, if I have to use the self-serve equipment, I don’t want to have to wait in a line. And to be honest, I don’t want to use the self-serve equipment. If I wanted to do that, unless my stop at the store was for an emergency item, I might as well just order it online and have it shipped to my house. That’s because part of the store experience is the human part. In addition, there is often an issue with the self-serve equipment. It might not read a bar code correctly, or the user has to type in a SKU or the machine won’t accept the store card or whatever. I’m not interested in doing it myself.
As to Target, the rest of the store looked fine when I was there. It’s still bright and clean and orderly. But I take the lack of human cashiers to be a sign. And that sign is one of a lessening interest in customers. Which could lead to an end of this store. Eventually.
Survival of the Fittest/Natural Selection
Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection was focused on evolution of a species. In a nutshell, species evolve, changing as needed to adapt to the environment. Those species or even parts of the species that cannot adapt or are no longer useful, die off. So for example, wisdom teeth are no longer necessary in humans. Apparently, early people needed those teeth to chew plants, but they are not necessary any longer. And often, when wisdom teeth grow, there is no room in our mouths for them and they are usually removed. Eventually, babies may be born without those teeth, since they serve no useful function.
So here’s what I’m worried about. If our species may be at risk for losing those things we don’t use, will the parts of our brains that strategize and analyze and utilize common sense some day go away? There are quite a few reasons I’m thinking about this, but let’s take just one example. Warning Labels.
“Do not attempt” or “Do not try this at home” are often included when watching a demonstration of one thing or another. And often when those words appear, my first thought is “DUH! of course not!”. So when stunt drivers are doing some sort of crazy demonstration, we need a reminder that this is a crazy demonstration and we shouldn’t do it at home. Why? We all know it’s stupid and crazy.
And those warnings are just a tiny peek into what we are now warned about. What about products? The instruction booklet for a curling iron says, among other things, “Never use while sleeping” and “Do not let eyes touch surface” and “do not use in a shower.” So, it’s a curling iron, a device that gets really hot so you can curl your hair. How in the world would you use while sleeping? And why would you try to curl your hair in the shower? It’s WET! And of COURSE you won’t let your eyes touch it!! That thing is HOT!
Or what about the deodorant that can come with a warning not to spray it in your eyes. Um, first of all, your underarm while in the same half of the body as your eye, isn’t really right next to it. And spraying anything in your eyes is dangerous. Does this product really need to come with a separate warning? Or what about the rotary drill that comes with a warning not to use for dental or “medical” use? Or the iron with instructions not to aim at people?
We all know hot things are dangerous, tools should be used for their intended use, and nothing should go in our eyes. I worry that these labels are in place because there must be enough people who do the not-so-smart thing that companies think they need to cover themselves. But back to the beginning of this line of thought. If more and more people use less and less of their brain, and if that’s how we lose parts of our bodies through evolution, could we eventually wind up with a whole species who cannot analyze or think for themselves? And could it already be happening?
That’s so scary.
And with that, I wish you a great week!