Some things I learned after getting married and changing my name: Having a slightly weird, 5-letter (yet still curiously oft-mispronounced) surname is a real boon when you’re signing up for social media accounts, especially if you’re an early adopter. “Sarah Sphar” was a no-brainer on Twitter circa 2007; “Sarah Sheehan” in 2015 on the other hand…In any event, my new handle is both more lengthy and less straightforward than I’d like, but it’s my name and thankfully devoid of a string of impossible-to-remember numbers.
As for my site URL, I know it is possible to change these things, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. My guess is that in the not-too-distant future someone will figure out a way to handle this sort of thing in one fell swoop, or maybe in the not-too-distant future no one will change their names because it is just too annoying to change their Twitter handles and URLs.
Lately I’ve been blogging for work here; my latest is here. The subject of customer service is one that should interest everyone—yes, even you, whether you know it or not—because unless you are a very particular sort of off-the-grid hermit, you are experiencing customer service pretty much on the daily. In the drive-through at Starbucks, ordering dog food from Amazon (which reminds me…I need to order dog food from Amazon), getting your oil changed, having furniture delivered…you get the idea. These interactions can seem perfunctory and neutral, but that’s probably because you’re experiencing, on the average, pretty good service. I bet you can tell me right now, without too much deliberation, the last time you had exceptional service and the last time you had terrible service. These things tend to stand out because they are more rare than “good” service, and because they make us feel something.
Human interaction! Yes, even in a highly automated and convenience-obsessed society, we’re still seeking out rewarding experiences with other people, even if they are just making us a latte or installing our wireless internet. We still enjoy meaningful interactions with other humans. I could be wrong, I suppose, but I don’t think this is something that will go away anytime soon.
This is why customer service, and its intersection with technology, is interesting to me. Because eventually we should (theoretically, anyway) be able to engineer away a lot of what makes some customer service interactions—particularly those conducted over the phone or via email—so annoying: having to remember a lot of dates and account numbers, needing to repeat a story four or five or sixteen times, lost records, etc. Ideally, technology can work around those things and leave us with a couple of people who are more informed, less frustrated and much friendlier.
And wouldn’t that be nice?