IST 511 – Day 3

Maybe the top lesson from today for me was that customers don’t want mediated services, they want to do it themselves.

This is not actually new at all to me. I see it at The Bank all the time; how many people do we see when the ATM goes down? (Answer: a lot who seem very confused).

Even working in a library, as a page; we were instructed that we needed to get people to talk to a librarian, because effectively we weren’t getting paid enough to deal with the public (this is what we were told). Sometimes we would say to ask a librarian, and you would see someone look defeated. Kind of a sad, “no, I’ll go find it on my own…”

And then again, this also sounds like me. There was a team-building exercise in my undergrad, a blindfold maze where you followed along ropes tied around trees. Our goal was to find our way out, and we could raise our hands and ask for help if necessary. Finally, when they gave the heavy-handed hint that maybe we should ask for help, and that there were only two of us left, did I raise my hand. I had learned the whole maze by then, and was still keeping at it.

I wonder, sometimes, why I work as a teller now, or am training to be a librarian. After all, I’m all over being a self-helper. I did ATM deposits or direct deposit, anything to make things more convenient! But it’s the figuring out how to do this all myself that shows me how to help other people do it, do it more conveniently and effectively, so that we’re not all stumbling along wondering where to get cash when we lose our debit card. “I need cash; can I get that here without my card?” Yes, yes you can. Welcome to the bank.

And so the reason that this comes up as an important lesson, is simply the fact that it came up. That we realize people don’t necessarily want help anymore, and yet here we are learning how to help them. Part of that learning is learning how to help them find things on their own, with better websites and searches, more logical layouts of the library. And being there for when the thread just doesn’t lead anywhere on your own.

Oh, neat sort of instant-gratification self-help device:

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About CompGeeksDavid
Co-founder, editor, podcaster, web comicer, forum moderator, and writer for Comparative Geeks. Father, husband, geek, nerd, gamer, librarian, Christian, Libertarian, Science Fiction philosopher, and probably a number of other descriptors.

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