Self Service – Is it really providing Customer Service?

A few months back, I read an article by Heather Armstrong on her blog Dooce. She relates her experience at the grocery store when she was forced into using the self service checkout. She wrote:

“And when (we) walk to the front of the store we find that they have only one regular checkout open in an attempt to force almost everyone into two 12-person lines for the self-checkout machines. This is what Jon refers to as Outsourced Caring™, when a company cannot be bothered anymore with basic service and hires someone else to do the caring for them. It’s why you’re always getting transferred to someone else when you call customer service, because the person who answered the phone doesn’t get paid to care.”

It was a hot topic as she had over 500 comments and people chimed in with comments such as:

– “Those machines are surely the work of the devil”
– “The self-checkout machines never fail to piss me off every single time I use them”

And this is one of my personal favorites…

– “i hate those freakin’ self check out machines. if i get to the front of the store and the only have those and a long line for the ONE actual person manned check out, i will leave my cart in the line and just leave. i will go out of my way to go to some other store that has humans doing the check out and force THEM to care.”

Which now brings me to the point. At what point does self service become a dis-service? Your thoughts are welcomed, I don;t think this topic is quite exhausted.

Heather’s full article is here.

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3 responses to “Self Service – Is it really providing Customer Service?

  1. Pingback: Do We Really Know What Is Best For Our Customers? « Customer Service Voodoo

  2. Pingback: Press 0, 0, 0, #, 0, *, 1……. « Customer Service Voodoo

  3. Pingback: Automated Car Rentals and Customer Service « Customer Service Voodoo

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