I was speaking with some staff at a gas station yesterday about how their industry is becoming more and more of a self-serve business, and perhaps losing some of its personalization.

When people ask me why I think customer service is heading in the wrong direction, I often cite our continued obsession with becoming a self-serve society that feels at least some of its identity is held in our hand-held devices; as just one of the problems.

As we become more social” as in “social media”, in many ways we become less social as in “real life”, and I often wonder how many years our obsession with bigger, badder, faster, will take us backward in the long run – especially in relation to our ability to serve customers with passion.

In either case, when I had a quick conversation with these two employees of the gas station I was at, I brought up how the pumps are going more self-serve, elimating more and more the need for gas station attendants, and they seem to feel the more they go self-serve the more their station will need in-store employees serving customers, and that customer service hasn’t suffered in anyway as we become more of a self-serve society that focuses sometimes more on the person on the data device than the person in front of us.

I’d be interested to hear what you think.

In my opinion, the facts seem to indicate that gas stations have less in-store employees than when their pumps were all full service, and the service I’m experiencing has suffered – remember the days when the person working at the station was excited to have a conversation with the person getting the gas while perhaps checking their oil, asking if they wanted their windshield washed and so on.

So, what do you think?



One comment

  1. Nancy · September 8, 2011

    Oh boy don’t get me going on this one, not only is the human interaction left out but what about ones who don’t know how to pump gas, personally I drive further to a station who will pump the gas though I could do it if I had to and save money, so if I don’t mind paying for the service why doesn’t the gas station realize they are not really doing the customer a favor.
    Then I’ve noticed that when you do go into these stations the employee is really just trying to take your money and send you on your way these days, no idle how are you or have a nice day – but often you see them having time to text on their cell as soon as you turn away
    Just my 2 cents

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