In Your Face

In Your Face
Thought provoking opinions on topical issues.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Does Anyone Really Care Anymore?

The Western world claims to live by the mantra “The Customer is Always Right”; companies and governments have become obsessed with building targets into almost every facet of commercial and governmental enterprise, examples of these targets include:

 Call answering time

 Complaint response time

 Outstanding corrective actions

 Customer satisfaction

 Hospital waiting lists

 Exam pass rates

 Brand awareness etc

However, it is my experience as evidenced in the
“Worse Than Worthless” and “The Endowment Diary” sections of my website; that many organisations merely pay lip service to these “ideals”. When “push comes to shove”, individuals are left to fight the lengthy battle for justice alone; with whatever means they have at their disposal.

As you can see from my own experiences on my website; one often has to cajole the organisation and publicise the problem to as wider audience as possible, before any semblance of action is taken to address the issues raised.

Those of us who use the UK’s “beloved” rail network know that we are no longer referred to as passengers, but as customers. A sign, we are told, that the rail companies recognise our importance. Has that improved the quality of service? NO!

Rail operators, in fact, in order to meet their much heralded punctuality targets are changing timetables and reducing the number of trains running; in order to be able to claim to be improving.

Hospital waiting list targets, by all accounts, are now being met because the statistics are being adjusted.

Exam results improve each year because the papers being set, and the exam marking standards, are becoming less demanding.

This sorry state of affairs was predicted in Orwell’s 1984. In one passage, Winston Smith (the hero) noted that the Ministry of Truth recently announced figures about shoe production showed an increase on the previous year. However, no one knew if the numbers being quoted referred to the number of pairs of shoes, the number of left footed shoes or the number of right footed shoes.

Moreover, no one even knew if the figures were correct; and indeed, at the end of the day, did anyone really care?

Cynicism, lethargy and apathy have allowed commercial organisations and government to wear us down with meaningless targets and statistics; these are the real “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

It is up to the individuals in society to neutralise these self induced “WMD”; and force political and business leaders to respect them as individuals and serve their needs once again.

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