Digitisation and the death of the service culture

103 posts in this topic

I think that the crappy in-store service is one reason that many prefer to shop online. Going into a shop is not a nice experience when you can't find any help. May as well do it from home then.

I never do self checkout. I will when those machines start paying taxes and into pensions.

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indeed.  Bigger reason is the clear and sweeping return policy of online shops.  Yes I have returned things to brick and mortar shops but I felt damned lucky when they took the stuff back as they generally don't have to (unless they have a written statement - ideally printed on the receipt - regarding return policy, which is not common from what I've seen).

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4 hours ago, BethAnnBitt said:

 The PC was going to replace all the secretaries at their typewriters.

 

I think it did just that or have I missed something? It has been a very long time since I saw a typewriter in an office let alone someone using it!

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2 hours ago, Keleth said:

to be made redundant.

No offense, but that's the same attitude that made weavers destroy mechanical looms.

 

You can't stop progress. The companies will implement the new technologies or go under. You can either adjust or be buried by (or along with) them.

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wrt banks - screw that

 

I've been banking online since inception in the US - so what, the 90's? - and online banking is WAY less of a pain in the ass than going to a Filiale.  Problems in Germany with any banking still revolve around the obsession with cash, as well as some data verification issues (and don't get me started with the app/tan/whatever insane thing they can come up with login crappola), but still, my purely online banks here offer MUCH better service at zero cost.  

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, keith2011 said:

 

I think it did just that or have I missed something? It has been a very long time since I saw a typewriter in an office let alone someone using it!

 

noooo

 

the point of the prediction was that secretaries would become obsolete.  That has not yet happened, but it could with better voice recognition software in the works, and things of that nature. 

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5 minutes ago, lisa13 said:

 

noooo

 

the point of the prediction was that secretaries would become obsolete.  That has not yet happened, but it could with better voice recognition software in the works, and things of that nature. 

They're not extinct, but they're certainly an endangered species, especially at middle management level.

 

Nowadays they're called "Executive Assistants" and are limited to the VP level and up. Everyone else is expected to type their own memos and e-mails. Hell, even some CEOs type up their own blogs nowadays.

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17 minutes ago, lisa13 said:

 

noooo

 

the point of the prediction was that secretaries would become obsolete.  That has not yet happened, but it could with better voice recognition software in the works, and things of that nature. 

Well maybe but further to the comment by El Jeffo it certainly did make the job of Typist and Typing pools completely obsolete.

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@Lorelei: you could relocate to e.g. Uruguay where you still have a lot of service. Employees fill up your car in a petrol station and clean your window, people put your groceries in a bag, 2 people in a bus: one driver and one person sells you a ticket, many bank kiosks around because people pay their rent and electricity in person at a bank, etc.

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hm...in some fields I expect that is true, but with customer facing communications I'm not so sure.  Eg I have a friend who's an attorney and he and his cohorts still use people to transcribe dictations and to proofread and correct documents and even basic correspondence.  I knew a scientist in the US who did something similar not long ago.

 

I don't think PCs put secretaries'/typists' jobs at risk, but the internet, email services and general loss of dignity among humans ;)  The point is, someone is still typing it in most cases.  But we have become inured to badly written stuff.  I mean ffs read a US newspaper - editing seems to be outsourced to non-english speakers these days ;)

 

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2 hours ago, lisa13 said:

wrt banks - screw that

 

I've been banking online since inception in the US - so what, the 90's? - and online banking is WAY less of a pain in the ass than going to a Filiale.  Problems in Germany with any banking still revolve around the obsession with cash, as well as some data verification issues (and don't get me started with the app/tan/whatever insane thing they can come up with login crappola), but still, my purely online banks here offer MUCH better service at zero cost.  

 

 

 

 

Evening, lisa! I am flying to Hamburg for a week in March to sort out some things and my FIRST appointment the morning after I arrive is with my bank manager.

Haspa changed something re internet banking at the beginning of the year and I got confused logging in and TAN and all that stuff and I also forgot my PIN etc... and password.

 

 

Basically, I logged myself out of the system and then, after some prompting, they wrote me two letters to Greece with TWO pin numbers.

 

So I gave up and my partner Nicole booked me a flight to Hamburg which doesn‘t involve a ten- hour stop over in Athens or whatever!😂

 

So I will be getting help from the new YOUNG-ish technocratic  manager ( who, at first , was incredibly arrogant and unfriendly but grovelled the next day after we had written a complaint  to his boss )!

😂

So , Haspa and Hamburg - here we come! Finally also a chance to visit my/our favourite shop in Hamburg after the bank is sorted! ( NOT Haspa!)

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yeah!  If you were with DKB or Ing or another online only bank, you would call them, they would cancel the old login data, send you a letter with new pin or login or whatever you needed, and that would be that.  Yes the letter is a pain in the butt as it takes a few days, but you could do it without visiting the bank.

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I can simply call my US bank if I need new PIN.  And the bank can produce a debit card on site if I lose one.  And that's in a small univeristy town, not some big city.

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7 hours ago, fraufruit said:

I think that the crappy in-store service is one reason that many prefer to shop online. Going into a shop is not a nice experience when you can't find any help. May as well do it from home then.

I never do self checkout. I will when those machines start paying taxes and into pensions.

Yeah, I felt the same way about taxis, government workers, or auto dealership.  I don't really care if they are driven out of business.  I have had the same bad experience with taxi services as I did with Uber drivers.  I am MORE likely to buy a new car if I don't have to go to a dealership.  I especially do not want to take the day off of work to drive into some government office to spend the day waiting for something I could have filled out on line.

 

However, I do think there is a serious problem about what to do with the people who used to do the menial (and now not so menial) jobs that are being replaced.  Not everyone can be retrained as a software developer.  Universal income?  

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Just now, BethAnnBitt said:

I can simply call my US bank if I need new PIN.  And the bank can produce a debit card on site if I lose one.  And that's in a small univeristy town, not some big city.

But we are not in the US.  If you haven't noticed Germany has very different data protection laws and is quite far behind with online services overall, at least in part because if it's not on paper, it didn't happen.

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It is partly down to my old-world know how ( lack of ), lisa!

On the other hand, a client of mine is an IT specialist on a high salary and with a wealth of experience and he, erm, couldn‘t sort it out and went to the Filiale!😀

Have to sort stuff out in Hamburg anyway re leaving Crete at some stage and the Brexit issue ... so this has prompted me to fly over there sooner rather than later!

( Plus I need some Hamburg sunshine- it is raining here  right now and I am suitably annoyed!😂)

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20 minutes ago, BradinBayern said:

Yeah, I felt the same way about taxis, government workers, or auto dealership.  I don't really care if they are driven out of business.  I have had the same bad experience with taxi services as I did with Uber drivers.  I am MORE likely to buy a new car if I don't have to go to a dealership.  I especially do not want to take the day off of work to drive into some government office to spend the day waiting for something I could have filled out on line.

 

However, I do think there is a serious problem about what to do with the people who used to do the menial (and now not so menial) jobs that are being replaced.  Not everyone can be retrained as a software developer.  Universal income?  

No chance of me being retrained as a software developer!

Universal income it is!😂

The Finanzamt in Hamburg are already working on it!

😩😂

A letter the other day:

“ Sehr geehrter Herr Gunn,

wieviel können Sie Brutto verdienen als nutzloser 67-jähriger falls Sie zum ersten Mal in Ihrem Leben arbeiten müssten?“

Or something like that.

 

I have, unfortunately , misplaced the letter!

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23 hours ago, Keleth said:

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.

 

I only buy Amazon reluctantly, only when I can't find it from a local shop easily or a German/European online store, or the price really is drastically lower (but I find that's rarely the case). Usually it's only a small savings margin at Amazon. For only a couple euros difference, I am happy to support smaller places. I loathe what Amazon have done to book stores, especially back home. Back in the early 2000s, the mega-bookstore chain* blew out almost all the small local independent (*Yes singular. In Canada, monopolies/duopolies are even worse than other anglo countries -- what started as two mega-bookstores quickly merged into one and f•cked everyone else out of the market but specialists or in downtown areas where mega-boxstore space was not available). And now, even they are closing stores. My nearest shopping centre in the neighbourhood where I grew up — less than 1km — had a small 4-5 local chain bookstore, replaced by a mega-bookstore (which was nicely stocked, cafe inside, etc., but yea, a big faceless corporation), and now my parents tell me it closed last year. Now the nearest place to look at books is 5km away. For them, it's only easily reachable by car and requires a special trip out there, as it’s not somewhere they just pass by. 

 

I know Amazon can afford to undercut due to legal tax evasion, massive bulk quantities, their dubious labour policies ("contractors", lol), etc. As soon as they have the market cornered, they will jack up prices. Lately, looking for certain small electronic or mechanical repair parts, I've noticed Amazon is flooded with low-quality junk sold direct from Shenzhen or wherever, sent via China Post (which is heavily subsidized by the state to help Chinese exporters. That's why it only costs 89 cents to ship a couple kilos halfway round the world). Look for plug adaptors for example, you'll find 7 different generic Chinglish names stamped on the exact same cheap plastic clone product at prices far above Chinese market, though of course just enough to compete with shops here.

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24 minutes ago, BradinBayern said:

  Universal income?  

 

The more I think about it, the more I read about it, the more I believe UBI schemes are a bad idea. I know they sound sweet, at first I certainly thought so, but I don't think it would take a lot for them to spin into nightmare scenarios. 

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