Just for the sake of argument, let's say you're a geek.I'm not thinking of that word in a derogatory way. I'm considering the word Geek here as a name that reflects your particular ability to understand the inner workings and needs of higher technology items such as a cell phone, a printer, or a computer. If you knew the same amount about cars we'd call you a mechanic. If you knew the same amount about dogs and cats we'd call you a veterinarian.
But in this case it's computers and IT equipment -- so the word we use is geek.In today's technology-dependent world, there's actually a lot of value in being a geek. It's a marketable and useful skill. Many of us have known our share of geeks, and some of us may actually be geeks ourselves -- but on those rare occasions when a known and trusted geek is not available, wouldn't it be nice if there was a place where you could find and solicit the assistance an one available geek, especially if you were having trouble with items they clearly knew a lot about -- given their inherent geek-itude?
It might even be better in a society like ours if you could find more than one geek at a time, all in the same place -- just in case more than one non-geek needed assistance, or a given technology problem could benefit from the combined knowledge of several geeks at once.
I gotta tell you, that would really be a cool thing. Especially considering the fact that many retail outlets out there advertise the fact that they have such a grouping available to help people out with their technology, when in truth all they seem to have are people in matching shirts and ties who can only shake their heads and suggest that you probably would have been better off had you purchased the more expensive service warranty when you first had the chance.A squad of geeks, if you will.
See, I wasn't looking for you to tell me which service plan I should have bought. I really didn't come here to hear the myriad of things that you can't do for me, much less any of your suggestions as to what steps I could take that might help you shorten the 4-5 week time frame you feel will be needed before I can get an estimate of how much it might cost to repair my computer.Look, Geek -- perhaps you've misunderstood the purpose of my visit to your
little primary-colored enclave here in the back corner of this particular Best Buy.
What I was actually looking for when I came in here was the sense that someone could help me with my problem. What I (and honestly, what ANY customer) really wants here is someone to offer a sympathetic ear while I explain the problem I'm having, and at the very least a positive outlook on the chances that the particular problem I have can actually be solved.
See, I fully admit that I don't know how to fill out the database form on the computer you're standing in front of that will put my name and address on the sticker that you will apply to my computer so that when the geek in the back room mails it off to the geek in the other city who will attempt to diagnose the problem when he gets around to it -- will know who to mail it back to once he's done.I came to you because you are wearing the suit that says you know how to fix this sort of thing.Not so you could shake your head and inform me what it was
I should have done a year ago when I was making the purchase.
I'll accept that you can do that better than me.I guess the real problem is that seeing you there under the sign that says "Geek Squad" wearing the same clothes as the people in the picture gave me some sort of impression that you personally knew how to fucking fix something that might be broken.
I know it's broken. I know it's gonna take time to fix. I'm the one who broke it. I didn't mean to do it. I didn't want to do it. But sometimes things happen. Things that need more than just a Phillips head screwdriver and some duct tape. Which is why I bought the service plan that said if/when something like that happens, I could bring it to you geeks.Instead, I get the technological equivalent of a high school
lunchlady telling me that "fries don't come with that, baby."
Because you're the ones who are supposed to know how to fix these things.And let's get something straight here -- I never expected it to be fixed that very moment. I never expected for someone to wave a magic wand or push a button and suddenly things would be as good as new. But I sort of did expect that someone would treat the issue as one that could be fixed in a reasonable amount of time -- Which is why when you say things like "Well, hopefully we can find the parts from the manufacturer so we can give you an estimate. After that we'll have a better idea of what we're getting into here." I start to go all angry white man on you.
I used to teach this back when I was at ACT (which was essentially a private vocational tech school whose main goal was to take people without college degrees and give them the computer training and basic professional skill set needed to get into the corporate workplace, which is a fancy way of saying I took high school dropouts and got them to the point where they could be receptionists, CSRs, or AR clerks -- all of which aren't great jobs, but are a way to get into companies that offer better jobs). I would tell my students this time and time again:
Customer Service is not about solving the customer's problem -- because it's rarely as simple as that.Because when you, mister geek tell me you're going to send my broken equipment off to someone else. When you, guy on the other end of the phone tell me that the limitations of my membership are clearly stated in the terms and conditions statement that I signed when I accepted the rate agreement. When you, Automotive Service Department Manager shrug your shoulders and say "I don't know -- call some salvage yards?" When you, Fast Food counter employee see the pickles that I asked you not to put on my kids burger, and then say something like, "Well, just pick them off the burger"It's about assuring people that their problems are just as important to you as they are to them.
Of course -- having been on the other side of the counter plenty of times myself, I also know there's nothing that makes a day longer than whining customers saying "I broke this, you fix it." I know that in situations like that most people use you as a whipping post for their frustrations. That we as customers can seem like we expect you to make lead into gold and that if it doesn't happen in five seconds you're worthy of all the angry insults they can think of.What you're really saying is -- I don't care about your problem.
But honestly, nothings ever gonna get better if all we do is stand on either side of this fence and point the finger at each other. Someone's going to have to give a little here, and maybe it makes me sound like a dick -- but honestly, I think it's gotta be you.
I mean, I guess I could break my computer in a way that's requires less effort for you to fix next time --But until then, the ball is kind of in your court, don't you think?