Digitisation and the death of the service culture

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A bit fed up today about the relentless onward march of digitisation and the accompanying attrition of face-to-face services. Take banks closing branches, removing cashpoints and expecting their customers - who are still expected to pay fees for something or other - to bank online. Can one print cash off the internet? No. Is it safe to stand at a cashpoint on the pavement and conduct one's banking there? No. Can banking online ever be as secure as banking offline? I'm certainly not convinced. Does everyone always have the latest digital technology securely equipped for online banking and home office complete with printer and photocopier? I don't think so. Other companies are going the same way. Like British Airways, expecting stranded passengers (as happened to me last year) to find accommodation and rebook flights on their smartphones (I still have a bog standard mobile) rather than at the "customer service" desk at the terminal ("sorry, we can't rebook your flight, try our customer services number") or on the phone ("sorry we can't take your call, please try again later"). Why can't we use digitisation as a tool and not let it rule us? Why can't we have a happy medium: face-to-face services and digitisation?

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AMEN! Unfortunately, we all know the reason. Fewer services, fewer physical assets, fewer humans= fewer expenses, higher profit margin. Add to this the fact that few people are willing to stand on their hind legs and say "No, this isn't good enough." To quote a well-known punk band, "Give me convenience or give me death!"

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If you like cash, then Germany is the country for you. https://www.wiwo.de/finanzen/geldanlage/digitales-bezahlen-warum-deutschland-noch-bargeldland-bleibt/25045516.html

 

Personally, I like the convenience of shopping online because I hate shopping.  I wish more government forms etc. were online, but I agree that there should be alternatives and backups.  Especially when the online service is crap.   I once used WhatsApp to contact KLM about a problem with my flight and got an answer the next DAY that told me basically to ask at the airport.  So much for trying to avoid the lines 

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39 minutes ago, BradinBayern said:

If you like cash, then Germany is the country for you. 

 

Not so sure how long that will last, I'm seeing more and more of my banks branches no longer having cash over the counter. That can be a real nuisance if you need more than the limit on your card, or like yesterday when the automat gave me a €100,- note and they could not change it at the counter.:angry:

An indignant, "its my money and I want now" or "What is the point of a bank without money", is about the only response I can think of!

I do agree with some of the points in the op, I had to bin a perfectly good smart phone last September after my banks app. decided it had a version of Android it did not like and it could not be updated (the phone that is not the poxy app.).:angry:

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12 minutes ago, keith2011 said:

 

Not so sure how long that will last, I'm seeing more and more of my banks branches no longer having cash over the counter. That can be a real nuisance if you need more than the limit on your card, or like yesterday when the automat gave me a €100,- note and they could not change it at the counter.:angry:

An indignant, "its my money and I want now" or "What is the point of a bank without money", is about the only response I can think of!

I do agree with some of the points in the op, I had to bin a perfectly good smart phone last September after my banks app. decided it had a version of Android it did not like and it could not be updated (the phone that is not the poxy app.).:angry:

My bank thinks I live in Austria and therefore will not allow me to even download their app. 

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2 hours ago, keith2011 said:

 

or like yesterday when the automat gave me a €100,- note and they could not change it at the counter.:angry:

 

 

lol, I thought this only happened to me. I went to the Commerzbank this morning and withdrew €150 from the  ATM and received 1 x €100 and 1 x €50. I had intended to go to the bakery afterwards but they wouldn't be able to change either to had to pop into the supermarket just to buy something to get some change.

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35 minutes ago, warsteiner70 said:

 

lol, I thought this only happened to me. I went to the Commerzbank this morning and withdrew €150 from the  ATM and received 1 x €100 and 1 x €50. I had intended to go to the bakery afterwards but they wouldn't be able to change either to had to pop into the supermarket just to buy something to get some change.

 

It's happened a few times to me where I could only get multiples of 50€ out when I wanted to get smaller notes too.

 

I have no Commerzbank ATM in my neighbour so don't use the others that charge me. Instead, I  use the local Netto - they allow you to withdraw money (I think up to 200€?) if you spend over 10€ using your debit card. If I know I need money the following week, I just get it when paying for my weekly shopping.

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38 minutes ago, warsteiner70 said:

 

lol, I thought this only happened to me. I went to the Commerzbank this morning and withdrew €150 from the  ATM and received 1 x €100 and 1 x €50. I had intended to go to the bakery afterwards but they wouldn't be able to change either to had to pop into the supermarket just to buy something to get some change.

You were lucky!

I always withdraw 300€.

Last time I got a 300€ bill.

I had problems to find a shop that accepted it.

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11 minutes ago, AnswerToLife42 said:

You were lucky!  I always withdraw 300€.  Last time I got a 300€ bill.

I had problems to find a shop that accepted it.

 

Ha!  I never quite understood why counterfeiters would go to the trouble of making fake notes in a denomination that does not exist.  But many shops seem to be fooled, so it must be for the laughs.  Our local petrol station checks assiduously.  They also get robbed a lot, which is a lot nastier.  

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My 86 yo friend and I went the other day to buy our season cards for the Bodensee boat rides for 220€. Of course I plunked my CC down and she popped out a 500€ bill. 😂

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55 minutes ago, warsteiner70 said:

 

lol, I thought this only happened to me. I went to the Commerzbank this morning and withdrew €150 from the  ATM and received 1 x €100 and 1 x €50. I had intended to go to the bakery afterwards but they wouldn't be able to change either to had to pop into the supermarket just to buy something to get some change.

 

My (northern) Commerzbank has ATMs allowing me to decide which notes I want. 

Still won't give me the pretty pink ones if ask for € 300 though.

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We just opened an account at the Bodensee Sparkasse today and now have both mobile banking and a physical presence, EC cards, and can get $ and CHF anytime during banking hours at no extra cost! I could not believe the number of signatures required and amount of paperwork generated.  Very German.  The kid said “if we can make a rule in Germany we will”.   😂

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Rant..

Oh how people are shocked because local firms are closing branches or local butchers,bakers closing etc.

These very same people who buy online from firms like Amazon etc because it`s cheaper or easier.The same people who are happy to get their parcel next day while the delivery person works up to 12 or 14 hours a day while only getting paid for 8 hours and getting a very poor hourly rate andAmazon keeps on exploiting their workers.

The same people who want to buy cheap milk while the farmers are getting screwed out of every cent so that the supermarkets can make more profit.

The same people who buy cheap clothes because they have to because they work for companies that are only interested in profit.

The same people who thinks it is wonderful that companies make mega profits because "it`s good for the economy" but not realising it is actually "good for businesses but not really for the people".

People like Fraufruit (no offence) need for this sort of thing to keep happening because their future relies on investments because we are happy to work for 50 years of our lives and still having to scrimp and save so we can live maybe our last 10-20 years in something resembling comfort.

The same people who are quite happy to pay taxes while companies find more and more ways of screwing the country out of more tax money.

The same people who when they hear "the economy is booming" thinks it`s a good thing when really it means  businesses can make more profit and think yourself lucky because you have a job.

The same people who keep voting the same fucking politicians into power time and time again.

 

We are to blame for all this and we`re quite happy to let the vultures keep preying on us.

 

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11 hours ago, Keleth said:

People like Fraufruit (no offence) need for this sort of thing to keep happening because their future relies on investments because we are happy to work for 50 years of our lives and still having to scrimp and save so we can live maybe our last 10-20 years in something resembling comfort.

 

No offense taken but I had to do a lot of scrimping and saving in order to make the investments. Also, as good as they are doing now since big businesses and the wealthy got the tax cuts, I won't be voting for Trump or the like who favor the rich. I'd rather everyone be better off.

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While I sympathize with the plight of those who can't get their banks to change the €100 bills they get from the ATMs, I also have to chuckle at the assumption that Germany ever had anything resembling a service culture from a historical perspective. Everything from the monoflavored potato chips of old to the Ladenschlussgesetz was tailored to make shopping as inconvenient and bureaucratic a shopping experience as possible.

 

The race to digitalization is causing some upheaval, sure, but advances in digitalized, omnichannel retailing - like electronic shelf labels and smart price tags - are actually freeing up store staff and giving them more time to spend with customers. And eliminating the need to wait in line at the cash registers, too.

 

Bricks-and-mortar stores are actually improving their service because they have to in light of digitalization and online competition. I think the effect is net positive, overall.

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1 hour ago, El Jeffo said:

While I sympathize with the plight of those who can't get their banks to change the €100 bills they get from the ATMs, I also have to chuckle at the assumption that Germany ever had anything resembling a service culture from a historical perspective. Everything from the monoflavored potato chips of old to the Ladenschlussgesetz was tailored to make shopping as inconvenient and bureaucratic a shopping experience as possible.

 

The race to digitalization is causing some upheaval, sure, but advances in digitalized, omnichannel retailing - like electronic shelf labels and smart price tags - are actually freeing up store staff and giving them more time to spend with customers. And eliminating the need to wait in line at the cash registers, too.

 

Bricks-and-mortar stores are actually improving their service because they have to in light of digitalization and online competition. I think the effect is net positive, overall.

 

 

Sorry we now have a robot to do your menial and boring job but don't worry we now want you to keep our customers happy, go out there and be friendly and don't forget to "have a good day".

Dream on...

I don't believe banks and major shopping chains are all maintaining staff levels even here in Germany where it is hard to lay people off. They will reduce staff wherever possible in line with reducing services and premises (banks for example) while increasing profits.

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Fewer kids are sales people on the floor now.  More kids are in a room coding.  Are all jobs being phased out, or are job types being shifted?  At the individual level there may be winners and losers, but what is happening in the big picture?  Those are to me some of the really important questions if we want to have a fact based discussion about this worthy topic. Remember that when the telephone was invented the upper classes were upset about it interrupting their meals.  The PC was going to replace all the secretaries at their typewriters. To me personally FB and Twitter that have done much more damage than these other technological changes.  But that's just my opinion.

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