Are Kiosks Really Taking Jobs Away?

“Those self-service stations are taking my job away”

Have you heard dialogue like the sentence above? People complaining about all the robots and technology being engaged to replace people in jobs. They are talking about the kiosks at the airport or the self-checkout stations at the grocery store and the self-serve station for soft drinks at the fast food place and the ATM’s and all the other ways people are being eliminated from jobs.

Some of these changes are advances that help with customer service and afford the user a better customer experience, but some of them are not that at all. Some of them are the result of America’s Customer Service Disaster and are evidence that a non-thinking, non-feeling machine can do the job better than someone with a bad countenance and lousy attitude. Our attitudes have advanced the careers of these non-feeling machines.

We are the ones giving them promotions.

Frustration with bad customer service has carved out futures for these machines with certain job security. If not for the horrible advance of lousy customer service in America, these guys wouldn’t have a chance—because the managers and owners of these businesses would have never sought out these kinds of options to begin with, regardless of how stealthy and efficient they are. And all of this is just another opportunity for people to excel at their jobs and careers and trades by embracing customer service and putting on a helpful smile with a helpful word.

A lost art.

The current advance of technology replacing human skills is not unique. Years ago, a new item came along called an automobile. This was not good news for livery stables, blacksmiths, and carriage makers. A better way came along that pretty much put them out of business—or created a way for them to get a better job in the automobile industry.

But this time is different. This time the change is not so dynamic.

This time, the change is not making a tandem leap in travel like the change that replaced horses and buggies with cars. This time, the change is taking place because we got lousy at customer service. This time, the change is taking place because we forgot how to please a disgruntled customer instead of arguing with them. This time, the change is taking place because we put people on hold for 45 minutes. This time, the change is taking place because we are told we should make more money so the way we react to that is by not giving a crap about the job. This time, the change is taking place by using voice mail to return the call when we are ready, not when the customer is in need.

And this time, the change brings an opportunity.

An opportunity to use your natural talents in a way that will make the kiosk scream “uncle.” This time you and your business and personal skills can win this war because you are better equipped than the automated competition.

Or, we can keep giving lousy service and watch a lot of jobs go away.

Just like the horses and buggies

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