“You Don’t Have a Choice”

I am starting to make progress in trying to figure out why people are so upset about the state of customer service today. Here’s a big piece:

Some organizations are trying to profit from a monopolistic/1984 attitude.

For example, when working your way through airport security, the TSA people don’t want to negotiate with you. They don’t want to discuss the absurdity of requiring a ziploc bag to hold just one item–they just want you to throw it away. That’s a key part of law enforcement. The enforcement part.

Well, if it works for irrational government agencies, it can also work for cell phone companies and other near monopolies. It makes it a lot cheaper and a lot quicker to keep people in line.

And consumers, being spoiled, hate this.

It’s exacerbated by an interesting twist: many of these organizations pretend that they’re not really acting this way. They don’t say, "Yes, ma’am, I know you’re upset, but you have no choice. If you want to get on this plane, you must throw that out, even though there’s no reason. Tough." Instead, they try to reason with the customer and pretend that they realize we have a lot of choices and that they’re grateful for our business. Of course, the person you’re dealing with isn’t actually grateful. In fact, if you went away, it would make her day a lot better.

Three cheers for the organization that says, "In order to keep prices low and traffic moving, we’re unable to discuss our policies with you. We’re very sorry if this inconveniences you." It’s far better than the charade that so many large companies go through. It saves the expedient from having an argument and gives those that can’t stand this approach fair warning to look for an alternative.