After years of teaching cultural tolerance, our community standards are lower now than at any point in my lifetime, for almost everything. We have learned to tolerate and accept boorish language and meager communication skills, angry confrontational conflict resolution techniques, selfish exhibits of temper and poor workplace performance in almost any service industry setting.
By setting standards too low, we are effectively abrogating any parenting or professional responsibilities at all. Instead of harshly demoting or firing people who fail, we just tolerate them. I say this because I encounter workplace incompetence daily, at the most surprising points of contact.
I could write a book about bad initial contact with customer service reps who have the exact opposite effect they were hired to achieve. It is not racist to notice that I can't understand a word they say! That they are reading from a script, or that they can't understand me either.
Not too many years ago, many consumer services companies hired experts to monitor their management teams, and their customer service interactions, to assure that customers came away with positive experiences. Now they warn callers that "this call may be monitored" but I can't believe that is true because the next thing that happens is dreadful and unacceptable.
How can the managers let that happen?
If you can get a live person on the line when you call customer service (which is next to impossible), very seldom do they actually resolve the issue. They either respond by asking you a series of mostly irrelevant and inane questions or they refer you to a webpage or a YouTube tutorial. Recently, when subscribing to a computer security program, I spent nearly 90 minutes with an agent that kept sending me in circles with misdirected links and ineffective measures. Finally, after passing me on to a "Manager" I got what I was looking for. Why did I have to play charades in the first place?
Do you live in a development with a Homeowners Association? You know how hostile those can be. How about interacting with government agencies like the DMV, Post Office, or planning departments at the city or county? It is nearly impossible to get the task done the first time, if ever.
The new norm is that too many people have never been properly trained for their position, or they simply don't care enough to bother learning. Either way, our culture has failed to install any sense of pride in how people do their work. All of which reflects our social dysfunction and the complete failure of the progressive educational model based on "tolerance" and "diversity" training.
When was the last time you hired a contractor to do work around the house? How did that go? Despite digital apps like Angie's List and Home Advisor that supposedly vet vendors, my experience has been that too many of them are underqualified, overpriced and unreliable. I call it "talent relativism" because when I challenge their work, the first thing they do is trash talk their competitors. They learned those techniques from politicians and academics.
"Yeah, that faucet isn't quite right. But at least it is better than what the last guy put in!"
We are living in an atmosphere that has been contaminated by our own bastardized educational system. After decades of Progressive Educational Theory, where the objective was to create socially homogenized and inclusive citizens, we have instead created tribes of emotionally underdeveloped, ill-prepared, and woefully unskilled workers that have little or no social skills, work ethic or pride in what they are attempting to do.
Have you noticed how unhappy people are about just about everything?
Whether it is the service industry (restaurants, post office, auto repairs, etc.) or professional services (tax preparer, dentist/doctor, lawyer, etc.) or especially public services like politicians, police or military, no one gets a pass. Most of us think the other guy is overpriced and under-performing. In too many instances, we are right!
People are just pissed about everybody and everything and we know this because social media is loaded with video documentation of irate individuals screaming invectives at receptionists, security guards, policemen, teachers, store managers and even sports team mascots! Whether it is City council, PTA or school boards, any meeting of people where decisions have to be made over policy, budgets, rules or procedures is going to result in conflict and emotional outbursts, fist fights and even arrests.
Customer service, consumer complaint resolution, communication and mitigation skills, are all insufficient or totally absent. And the most irritating part of it, is that they think they are doing a great job!