As our world moves away from customer service, people’s lives continue to be disrupted more and more with the lies about modernization being “Better” and “More Efficient” for our lives. The pandemic forced people out of business, whether it was a large corporation laying off or a small business who was told that they had to close up shop and stay home – for fears – due to the mass hysteria created by the government. People were then treated to “government paychecks” to stay-at-home, and this created isolation, more fear, depression and anxiety.
This was an opening that created a diversion for what was next. Psychotherapists were now working from their homes and saving on rent for office space. Non-profits, had already been doing this for years, claiming that in-home therapy was conducive to supporting low-income clients by keeping them stuck in their houses, under the guise that we were “treating them in their own environment. In reality, this meant they did NOT get a break from the chaos of drugs/alcohol, abuse, filth, and the crisis of being in the projects or low-income housing.
Telehealth continued for psychotherapists, post-return to the workplaces. They had enjoyed not paying rent and staying at home. They began to claim, “This is the way of the future.” And, it is, but it is not good quality customer service. We have already seen a decline in customer service in the past 20 years, with “Modernization.” Huge corporations do not post their telephone number on their website. They do not have receptionists answering their phones – if you can find a phone number, in Google search. If you want your questions answered, you are only allowed to go to the FAQ page, where you will find typed responses to Frequently Asked Questions. If those questions aren’t the one’s you have, you can go to a “Chat Room,” and talk to someone there. Now, this is becoming a robot, who forces you back to FAQ’s. If you go to the Grocery Store, you are now seeing more and more Self-Serve lines, and less and less cashiers. It is now customary, after 8pm, to have no cashiers at all, in some large grocers. Meanwhile, when I went to a small grocer yesterday, there were two huge lines with only two cashiers. They are not used to this onslaught of people who do not want to be a slave to Grocery Chains.
I was born in 1962, so I was raised with good work ethics and the knowledge of what having integrity with customer service means. I served in the church, in Girl Scouts, was the eldest child in my home and began working at the age of 12 (babysitting). Initially, I was in retail management and trained by very disciplined companies on never saying “I don’t know,” to a customer. This is because we were taught to make sure to be available to our customers and always get an answer for them, so they walked away feeling they could trust and value our company. Prior to computers, businesses understood that our paychecks came from customers. Our company’s existence was tantamount to the word getting out that we were a good place to do business with.
I have always fought back on modernization, as I saw computers steadily and surely leading people away from a quality experience. It makes no sense to me as I was trained in treating my customer fairly and honestly. I have complained to companies for years, in my “we want your feedback,” which I see as more lies, checking off a box in their corporation. Because, nothing has changed, when it is only getting worse and worse. At CVS and Kroger, I stand in long lines. They are NOT my boss and they cannot tell me what to do. I tell them “No, I will not get in the self-service line, I do not work here.” They give me dirty looks but I don’t care. What are they going to do, fire me?
I fought back during the pandemic as well. I NEVER closed my doors. Unlike some of my friends who were not considered “essential,” such as massage therapists or hairdressers, I only did telehealth for those who requested it. My friends had to go under ground and work from their homes, with the clients who allowed this and didn’t tell anyone. It was like WWII all over again, and they were the Black Market. I, myself, was still afraid daily that someone would report me for keeping my doors open. In fact, everyone in my office building came in every day. We have a security company and a doctor, both of which were still necessary in different ways. By summertime, people were wanting telehealth less and less, gratefully.
When I did telehealth, I saw animals running around (or their butt to the camera), what people’s homes looked like in the background, kids interrupting their parents (or partners), and I had to tell people to move the camera up or down so I could see them. There were technology interruptions all the time. Bad weather would cause my computer to go down – or theirs. Talking from a car was horrible reception unless they were sitting still in front of their homes – but even then, it would go in and out. I would panic if they would talk to me while driving, worried they would have an accident. I would ask them if they could please pull over. Sometimes they did and sometimes not. Two people were afraid of being seen on a video even though, I had seen them in my office so I had to talk to them on the phone. This was NOT quality customer service. It was a joke and not conducive to mental health. Not to mention, I felt like I was not myself on the phone or video. I am a visual person, an empath and a Highly Sensitive Person. I need to interact in-person. I need to see the whole person, where I feel in control in my office. Not to mention, it felt embarrassing to see them outside of my office. I always felt like I was doing something wrong, even though this is what the customer requested or the government wanted.
We are human beings, not robots. When it comes to your mental health, you need to see me (or your therapist, wherever you are) in-person. You need to get out of your house and walk into the psychotherapy room. We work to create a sacred space – those of us still working in our offices – for you to come in and feel welcomed and received, in a clean, professional environment. In a metaphorical sense, you need to see and feel me, and I need to see and feel you. This is how we build TRUST with our clients. The video monitor removes this quality interaction by only seeing faces of each other.
Don’t be caught up in the lies about modernization being good for you. The modern world is happening, yes, but it is certainly NOT healthy or a good quality experience. This is NOT customer service. Fight back and demand to see your psychotherapist in-person. Fight back with self-service. We lost with gas stations, but we don’t have to lose at the supermarket. Fight back with the company you are calling. Don’t give in to everything being “managed” online. If enough people do, we won’t lose out to grocers becoming gas stations. When gas stations used to be full service, you had your oil looked at, windows cleaned, you were often helped by a man in a uniform, they could even get you in to do minor mechanical work on your car – in their body shop. They put air in your tire if it looked low, because they made you aware of this. You could ask them for directions, if you were out of town, and they were bright enough to answer your questions. These were good quality employees. Now, we have self-serve gas stations and kiosk employees who could care less whether you are there or not. They don’t know the first thing about automobiles either. Don’t allow our country to continue AS IS. You deserve better.