Personal service in an online world
February 18, 2023
Many of us can remember the days of "full service" gas stations. The instant you turned off the ignition someone was washing your windows, checking your tires, making sure your oil was topped off and, if you were lucky, they threw in a couple of glasses or steak knives, all at a 10th of the price we now pay for gas!
While that level of service has gone the way of the dodo bird, we are left with something quite different. Because of rising costs, fast food restaurants are going toward kiosks – a machine that takes your order and also sells more product than the human would. You can also place your order online and pick it up separately from the rest of the people waiting to be served.
Our recent bout with COVID has changed personal service even more. Our older generations, many of whom were projected to never change to making purchases online were forced to make the transition. Since our shopping in stores became very limited, online became the only option! Now it remains to be seen how many of these people will come back to retail shopping. So far, the numbers are increasing but time will tell.
Even the mantra "your call is important to us" has changed. Now it's followed by a recorded message telling you you've called at a "high volume time" and you're 10th in line. If you're lucky enough not to be hung up on, you'll eventually be talking to a recording which give you options that have nothing to do with the reason you called.
So, what will happen to personal service, will it come back? Yes, the advantage we have living in a small town is much of the personal service never left us. Will we go back to the level of full service gas stations? Probably not, as companies struggle with rising costs service seems to be one of the places companies feel they can cut. But as long as there is a demand for it and people are willing to pay for it, personal service will be around!
Marty Pay is a contributing writer for The Loop newspaper. He can be reached at Marty Pay Farmers Insurance (661) 822-3737.