Monday, 8 December 2008

Old Fashioned Values

Having read some horrifying stories recently about the behaviour of shoppers, and especially with the Christmas season in full swing, I feel obliged to lament the state of customer service, account management and client relationships these days. Whichever term you chose to apply to it, I am frankly a little appalled by the responses I've been getting of late. The solicitor dealing with my property purchase would be a prime example.

It doesn't seem like a great deal to ask that once a week someone calls me up to let me know how things are going. I mean, it's my purchase, my money and possibly my home that are up for grabs here. A little reassurance that everything's proceeding as it should isn't such a big thing to do is it? It does however appear to be beyond the capabilities of my solicitor.

So, what exactly has happened to good old-fashioned courtesy? Have we lost it forever? Is it actually too much to ask for in this ridiculous, fast paced world we live in? However hope is not entirely lost, and to my surprise it seems to lie with our cousins over the water.

I had cause to ring my car insurance company the other day about my insurance renewal and was greeted by the best customer service I have experienced in a number of years, courtesy of a young man named Tim and a young lady named Ann. The people were intelligent, personable and efficient and better yet able to show sufficient initiative to solve my query. Above and beyond that, they were polite well above and beyond the course of duty. Having prepared myself for the usual customer service battle, I found myself absolutely charmed by them and indeed, I found myself hanging up and repeatedly saying thank you. I may even gone as far as to wish them a pleasant day and actually meant it. It's been a long time since I got off the phone with anybody's customer service team without feeling like I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown by the time I had finished.

All of this got me pondering, and I have concluded that I am an old fashioned girl in more than just my tastes in clothes and shabby chic. I appreciate many old fashioned values and am distressed to see many of them in decline:
  • I love a man to hold doors open for me
  • I love admire both chivalry and valour
  • I think that you should stand aside/give up your seat for pregnant or elderly women
  • I think that please and thank-you are some of the most important & underused words in the English language
  • I admire thriftiness
  • I admire respect; those that give it and those that command it
  • I admire independence, but not to the point where you sacrifice other elements of your life for the pride of being so
  • I miss old fashioned feminism, where being a feminist involved being feminine
I do think that one day, we'll understand what we've missed in becoming this half-crazed consumer-driven society where the product matters more than the people. I hope so anyway.

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