Why Customer Service is Awful in the Seattle Area

March 9, 2017
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I live in the Seattle area, and it’s booming beyond belief. But I’ve noticed a steady deterioration in customer service over the last year or so. When I ask some business “employee” to do something, I now assume it will not be done, and set a reminder for myself to call back and harass them until it gets done. No one seems to do their job anymore.

I blame it on the boom. An iron-worker who makes six figures told me that, when he signed up at the union hall a decade ago, they selected him in part because he used to be a college defensive tackle; they were looking for the toughest guys. But now, business is so red hot that virtually anyone can sign up to be an iron-worker.

It all hit home when I saw the process of deterioration in action for myself.

I went in for a routine blood draw. The clinic was opening a new branch, and the competent guy running the old branch was training his replacements – an Indian woman, and an Eastern-European woman.

Their incompetence must be seen to be believed:

  • They can’t manage to properly fill a form on a PC
  • The Indian woman managed to miss my prominent vein, which was clearly marked by a dot made by everyone who has easily and painlessly drawn blood from the same spot in the last several months. It proved to be super-easy when the guy had to do it himself.
  • The new “employees” had trouble with complicated American names, like Ken and Ned (yes, really.) Patients ended up shouting out their own names, while the women hid behind their clipboards.
  • The Indian woman started loudly reading out a Social Security Number before the guy quickly cut her off.

When that guy leaves, any patient who goes to that clinic is doomed.

This is happening in all sorts of businesses, all over the Seattle area.

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