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Supercentres and Outsourcing

By Strongarm     Nov 14, 2006 in Lifestyle
Is the future going to consist of "Super" markets, massive stores and rows of cubicles?
Just recently 3 Walmart supercentres were built in Ontario, with many more to follow. I was curious to see what all the fuss was about so I went a few days after the one in Ancaster opened. It was a chaotic and stressful experience, and I never purchased a single thing (nor did the other 2 people I was with). The media keeps emphasizing how much easier and practical it is to shop at these supercentres but I don't find that to be true (even in the smaller stores of this type). I realize that it's nice to have "everything" in one store but there are so many other factors to account for. THe main thing I notice about these stores is that they're often out of the way, isolated in a world of other big box stores. Going to shop at these stores isn't always a simple undertaking, especially for people who have to rely on public transportation. I think these types of stores also negatively impact the sense of community in many towns and cities. And just because a store has greeters doesn't mean it's a friendly place to shop.
All of this ties in with some of my thoughts on customer service and outsourcing. Just think of how often an individual has to deal with an automated service or a telemarketer. I used to work as a TSR for 2 different companies (which I ended up quitting after a brief time) and it helped me to understand why I always get different answers and results every time whether for cable, bank, internet etc. services. It's not surprising that things get messed up so easily, or what should take one call ends up taking several to get straightened out. A lot of times good and reliable customer service gets overlooked as people compete to meet commission quotas, upselling levels, keep talk and idle time down, and give enough persuasive rebuttals across without straying from the script too much. I'm definitely more patient when I get a telemarketer on the line but I am also more adept at getting better service (ie. voicing my concerns or asking questions before getting hung up on or pressured into anything). I don't miss inbound/outbound calling for 10-12 hours every day - cubicles and headsets oh my!
Where's the middle ground? Moderation? It seems the mid-sized stores and office spaces are disappearing as quickly as the middle class. It's a dangerous gap that just keeps growing.
More about Outsourcing, Telecommunications, Markets, Customer service