I have a confession to make. I’m what’s known as a “late adopter” when it comes to technology. I’ve never IM’ed anyone, and at work I prefer to get up and go ask someone a question rather than Email them when they’re sitting right there in the next cube!
It’s not that I’m techno-phobic; it’s just that I prefer the personal touch. Remember that? Real human interaction.
Sure technology is great when it saves time…when it makes us more efficient. But how many times has Map Quest steered you wrong? Isn’t it just easier to call for directions, get landmarks rather than mile markers, have an actual human alert you to the latest road construction, and give you a tip about the best place to park?
Yesterday took the cake. I spent the morning at the Plymouth RMV (which by the way has surprisingly good customer service) because I had to transfer my license and registration. The final step in the process was to get a Massachusetts State Inspection.
I was told of a local garage just around the corner. I pulled up, walked into the office and was greeted by…no one! There was another customer and his daughter sitting there but no garage attendee. After a while, the near-mute customer instructed me that the correct procedure was to return to my car and drive halfway down the driveway where a sign indicated “State Inspection Line Starts Here.” Although there were no other cars in line, I was to return to my vehicle, sit in my car, and wait until a garage employee waved me in. Talk about a lack of personal interaction!
I did as I was told. But before the second song on my Livingston Taylor CD was over, I decided that I was burning gas for no good reason and didn’t need to stand for this. I got on my cell phone and called my dealership who assured me that as long as I arrived by 4pm they’d be happy to do the inspection. I drove all the way from the Plymouth Industrial Park to Planet Subaru on route 53 in Hanover where they offered me coffee and a computer with free internet access while I waited. Not only did they perform the inspection right away, but they washed my car and even affixed my new license plates. Now that’s what I’m talking about! I don’t care how much these guys charge me for an oil change; I’m a customer for life!
This morning I went to the local drycleaner. As I emptied my bag I bemoaned how I had to pay to dry clean a brand new suit because it was wrinkled beyond belief when I bought it at Macy’s. The proprietor told me that he could press it instead – at a savings to me of 30%. What’s more, he offered to give me last week’s special discount on the other pants I’d brought in. You can be sure I’ll be going to his place for now on, rather than any of the other 3 dry cleaners within a mile of my apartment.
You probably guessed by now that I don’t have any patience for those silly self-check out lines at the grocery store either. And that I’ll drive miles out of my way for a full-service gas station. My 30-something friends think I’ll old-fashioned, but when did service go out of style? When did having an actual conversation with your customer become bad business? Personally speaking, I want the personal touch.