Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Opinion: When You're Just a Number...

Behind every database, in the world, there sits a number. It doesn't matter if you’re tall, petite, on the lovable side or slender bracket, you’re still a number. Your address is there, your phone number, maybe even a picture of your face depending on the platform but, as mentioned you’re a number and will only ever be that number.


All small businesses start off with healthy appetites, eager, maybe even brash, but ever hopeful of one day becoming the next big name. Maybe I'm being a bit too presumptuous, stating and using the word ‘all’, as some people actually like staying in their own corner of their world, with no reason or reliance on expanding. You might be one of those people if you own a business. Let’s place those healthy people aside for a moment and concentrate on the others.

You’re a business, starting out, already envisioning the future of wealth and prosperity. The future arrives, you've made it bigger and then one of two things might just happen. A bigger company comes along and snatches you up, amalgamates you into their fold, which often means that you’re destroyed or lost along the way. You’re a cog in a very, very, VERY big machine. You might scream, shout at the top of your lungs but, as expected, you’re drowned by the very nature of big business.

The other avenue is the most desired, the big time, the big name that everyone comes to know, speak of and visit. Sales are amazing, spectacular, plus expansion is going well. You hit a few speed bumps along the way, hire a few lawyers and follow the standard practise of things, ensuring that you, as well as your customers, are covered. 

You want to stay personal, special, treating each and every single person as they should be treated but, as I’m sure you’re aware, that’s not the way it goes. For the most part, within your day to day lives, buying from companies is an easy affair.  Within seconds your money flies through the wires and your product quickly arrives. Or, alternatively, you obviously collect your item from a store. Either way the result is that you’re happy (not that any product can truly make a person happy). 

eBay, one of the world’s most famous brands, recently developed a Concierge program which, in a vain effort to make people feel special, offered a cloud and mirror service to their ‘valued’ customers. To me, reading the literature, it seemed to afford the customer what they already had. Marketing, on the other hand, were obviously trying to make me ‘feel’ valued. I didn't. While the service was supposedly offered to me, due to being apparently special, it was also offered to my work account that had 84 feedback. All of the marketing bluster, the special warm words, fell apart into a void that made me smile.

Amazon, another one of the world brands, recently allowed Scan.co.uk to refund 85% of a return price which meant a loss, for me, of £293. Although I provided adequate proof of faults, links, explanations, I had absolutely no control of the situation at all. Customer services, albeit eager to help, all replied with the same comments be they on Facebook, twitter or via their portal.
Disillusioned, angered, annoyed? Not really. I played the game of the person angered by the process, calmly explaining the issues but, as you’re aware, it all fell on deaf ears. After exclaiming the situation, providing information, Amazon and Scan both fell silent due to the logic of details provided. 

Now that I've ranted, back to the blog. I'm a number. I'm not an actual person and, being honest, I can see how and why these situations exist. For every genuine, sincere, honest person returning an item, there will and always will be 10 other people who simply do not care and mistreat systems. But why shouldn't they? They are, after all, again, just a number on a database. In an ideal world, to which I expressed my dissatisfaction, someone, somewhere, within a company, should ‘own’ your issue. They tackle that issue from the very start to the very end. Even a rational counter argument would be sensible but, that’s not really possible, once you’re a number on a list that serves to provide a profit figure and more products to advertise.

Large businesses are not personal, they never can be, with their only solitary goal being to please shareholders and their bottom line. It’s soulless, it’s brutal consumption on an enormous level and, again with this honest thing, I'm also part of the problem. Big companies can own you, literally own part of your life. From the television you watch, the products that are pushed towards you, to trying to root themselves into your life to a point where you’re stuck.

In Amazon’s case, I have my book published on their platform, I buy all of my music from there due to Apple offering m4a instead of mp3 (Yes I know iTunes can convert), I'm a Prime member (cancelled) and, if they sold fruit, I’d probably buy that as well.

When all is written and read, when I sit down to think about these things, especially after being annoyed by the processes forced onto us (Right or wrong), I still cannot escape the fact that you, I, we, everyone, even to the medical, police and government, we’re still and always will be… just a number.

1 comment:

  1. Update: Amazon refunded £293 on the last working due before the deadline expired. That's nice of them but still very, very annoying.

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