The majority of Americans, and probably the people who decide to live elsewhere, have had at one time or another, a less than desirable experience with somebody on the other end of the phone for which you needed customer service for. Whether it was your cable, cell phone, utility bill, or online porn subscription. Whatever.
We, the callers, never seem to realize that as sucky as customer service can be, it's inevitably going to hit the giant shit fan in ten to fifteen years. Why? Because that's when every 14-year-old finally gets the hint that they'll need a job to pay for their huffing addiction, because the demand for his one man magic show in Chinatown dried up like California's water supply (ooohh... too soon?).
This is already happening now, if you've noticed, slowly. Like a tiny little caterpillar growing into... whatever it is they grow into? A bird (No. That's not right.) If you're Gen Y, which means people born from the early '80s to the early to mid-'90s (Wikipedia says it's up to early 2000s, but that's psychotic. There's no way I have the same functionality as someone born in 2002). I'm in this demo, and most likely so are you. Which means that you understand that while we still sometimes prefer to speak to a real human being, by sometimes yelling, "FUCK. I JUST WANT TO SPEAK TO A HUMAN," we also appreciate the ease and convenience of texting and emailing. Which is why I haven't checked my voice mail in five years.
Companies are realizing this, too. Every company that you depend on for a service, have all introduced a "chat now" feature for customer service. And someone, probably far away, greets you with such kindness that if you're anything like me, you just immediately click "Exit Chat Now," because nobody can be that cheerful.
"Hi Chris. How are you this lovely day?"
Just above the threshold of decent. thx
Agent is typing...
I love this option, because I feel like I'm back in the AOL chat rooms of yester-year. "CHAT ROOM IS FULL" WHAT!!!!!! I JUST LEFT A SECOND AGO!!!
But companies know that aside from convenience, which is why they've implemented these chat features, it also saves them from being publicly embarrassed when their service call ends up on the news.
But then there's the rest of you, who don't like speaking to anyone or anything if you don't have to. Which is basically every kid currently between the ages of 10 and 18. Oh no? Have you tried ordering ice cream lately? The high school kid might as well text me in line what I want. Seriously, can you look down at your Vans anymore, kid? Say hi. Ask, "Can I help you, guy?" I prefer Sir, but whatever, you got my sex right at least. And give me some moose tracks. Done.
We're nearing the end of the summer, but think back, throughout June and July, when kids were out enjoying each other's vapid annoyances, did you EVER see one of them on the phone talking to someone? NO! They're texting, snap chatting, and Instagraming a selfie Becca and Alexis just took of them doing something horribly wrong with the ice cream cone. Teens don't talk. Ever. Which is why they'll lack the proper social skills to be EXCEPTIONAL AMERICANS. Studies have already shown, in just one generation, that a teenager's off-the-cuff, verbal response skill, has diminished significantly. That's their ability to speak on their feet when they don't have the time to think of an answer, like on text. Being asked a question that might be uncomfortable. Ending a relationship! I don't know how the hell any of them are even getting in relationships. They're obviously texting, "Ah... do ya wanna date me?" I remember having to beg ask Lynne Patterson out on a date at Tower Park. That shit was nerve-racking as hell.
Be prepared is all I'm saying. Customer service, circa 2028 will be like Thunderdome.
Chris Peak is a freelance writer from Boston. He's contributed to The Huffington Post, Gawker, Deadspin, and Point Magazine. Follow him @chrishpeak, where he tweets about random awkwardness and social annoyances.