Americans Are Not Really Into Customer Service

by Alex Hutchins

When my wife and I were cruising last month on Royal Caribbean, we were informed by several top officials from that cruise lines that Americans make the worst employees and are seldom hired by any cruise line because they do not understand nor do they offer outstanding to excellent (decreasing in value here) customer service. Americans make good cruise directors but that is about it... so, no Americans are hired to cook, wait tables, clean rooms, serve drinks, or provide security services because of this lack of awareness as to appropriate customer service.

However, it is my belief that Americans do understand customer service, it's just that they do not like to be told what to do by foreigners for starters, and it would also be my belief that providing this type of customer service is beneath them and the ego perceptions that they have of themselves. Thirdly, I would have to say that most Americans that I know or have seen working, are basically lazy and really strive towards getting paid as much money as they can for doing as little as they can.

On the other side of the coin, managers of service workers here in the USA treat those service workers as if they were no better than animals; in fact, most animal owners treat their animals better than service workers are treated by management... hence, part of the reason for the low quality service.

But, is that all there is to it?

No, I don't think so.

Around 1950, American manufacturing was number ONE in the world as it supplied all the global countries as a result of the WWII being fought mainly in Europe, completely destroying the manufacturing base that was once there. As we manufactured quantity, we were not so much concerned with quality as we did not have the time to focus on quality, only quantity.

As American manufacturing grew, so too did the Middle Class Family in America, reaping the benefits of our economic abilities. As the Middle Class grew and grew and grew, the mentality of the parents was to make sure that their children never endured the same hardships that they endured trying to earn a living. Children were pushed into a different direction or they were pushed into the direction of college: white collar work as opposed to blue collar work.

Children born around 1950 were never going to be like their parents, so from 1970 (+/-) until 2000 (+/-) they acquired different skill sets, different experiences than their WWII parents so that when their children were born in the 1970's, by the 1990's when they were entering the workforce, their attitudes towards work were entirely different than the work attitudes of the 1950's. And, the children born in the 1990's, when they started entering the workforce in 2010, an entirely new breed of American Worker appeared on the scene, there were so far removed from the 1950's that the workers starting in the 1990's had no clue as to how to manage and motivate these workers.

But, rest assured that these new workers are in no way planning to pick fruit or vegetables, work in Call Centers, or sell any Retail products either in person or over the phone. None of these workers will ever get their hands dirty, so count out working in fire fighting, emergency services, or law enforcement. None of these workers will ever consider the idea of reporting to work each day and sitting behind a desk pushing papers when they already know that they can do most anything, once it has been digitized, from the comforts of their own homes, even if they are still living with their parents.

This new breed of worker:
  1. may/may not believe in God
  2. may not have any social heroes
  3. is really technology savvy
  4. has no values or intergrity
  5. sees no reason for company loyalty
  6. has no interest in moral behavior
  7. just as feminine as manly
  8. has no allegience to anyone
  9. is totally self absorbed
  10. feels they are owed everything

Of course, I am generalizing here but if I am only 80% accurate, how will that impact our American Business and their ability to remain globally competitive?

And, without going too far into the future, how will their children be should they decide to have any?

My generation... the baby boomers... on or a few years before/after 1950 have, at best, only 20 good years left... and, most of that will be lived in retirement or under strict medical supervision. And, pretty soon, those born on or around 1970, will be in the same situation that we are currently; so, in about 30 years, the OLD GUARD will be dead and gone...

Somewhere between 2046 and 2050 is when the shit will hit the fan, but, as early as 2030, we will know for sure that the shit is really going to hit the fan and it may be a tad earlier... who knows? In 2030, I will be 84 and still around to see if my predictions come true... But, just as sure as someone is my witness, when that day comes, I will no longer give a shit nor will I have any desire to tell you that I told you so.

However, the fact remains that Americans are not good at customer service and since the potential employment pool for customer service type workers is shrinking in size big time, there will be a huge void in the customer service arena that... believe it or not... will be filled by immigrants and foreigners, causing many Americans, like myself, to bitch even louder.

My wife and I this afternoon, ventured up to the big city of Morristown, TN to see if I was eligible to upgrade my phone to the new S7 Edge by Samsung. We were told no on the upgrade but that I would be eligible in about 5-6 weeks. In the meantime, there was this great promo deal on jet packs that we were eligible for today. So, based upon what our 20 something service rep told us, we took the deal... only to find out via email when we got home, that most of what she told us had been a lie... and, if it was not a lie, then it was certainly not true.

Our rep is going to call us when she gets to work tomorrow, but we have already boxed up the item and plan to return it to the store tomorrow since we anticipate a negative outcome with our phone call. Not only have we wasted a lot of our time, but we have put mileage on the car that did not need to be there and we will be burning additional gasoline that did not need to be burned had we been told the truth.

How many times do companies and their poorly trained workforce have to misinform customers before those same customers take their business to another cell phone provider? And, does that question even matter to management?

Probably not.

And, would you like to know why it doesn't?

Because, they are getting more new customers each month than they are losing each month, so the bottom line is still positive.

None of the cruise ships that are currently operating in global waters, would have been successful with that attitude.

You might just say that I am nothing more than a foolish old man who has nothing better to do with his time than to write negative articles about America, Americans, or American companies... and, you may be right, but, what if I am right and American companies start a serious decline because of the lack of customer service that I describe here?

Are you going to apologize?

I doubt it... probably because you will not even remember this article or me.

But, what you will remember will be the quality that seems to be getting a little worse since the last time you paid attention to it. And, it may or may not register with you either that you are paying a higher cost for that lack of quality than you were the last time. Still, the only way that you will not buy American is when they are out-of-stock, and you are forced to purchase the item from a foreign manufacturer... and, once that happens, you will never buy American again.

It is called GLOBALIZATION... and, it was put into place by a Republican, if that really matter now. And, as I have said earlier... it is just a matter of time.

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