Saturday, July 25, 2020

In the Absense of Good It Must be Outsourced

Twenty years ago as a local reporter, I listened as each level of government and private sector business made the case for outsourcing its low level jobs  In my mind there was no substitute for the lady at the front desk or the bottom level jack-of-all-trades that knew more about the company than the person with the big title and matching paycheck.  
Now two decades later, I am sad to report that everything I feared during those early discussion of cost-cutting and grand promises has come to pass.  More inefficient and costly than ever before, outsourcing has become a tangled web of push button menus and perky voices that speak from scripts and follow a questionable problem-solving path. 
The image here was 'borrowed" from a company website Outsourcing Insights.  The website was chosen totally at random and with no prior experience on my part.  And while I may not think much of the practice of 'outsourcing', the use of this symbol in no way indicates that the business is anything but professional. Illustrating the complexity of the outsourcing model better that I could do in a 1000 words or less, the image shows two computer users bridging some type of communication gap with multiple tools and people. 
My question has always been - How does involving more people in off-site locations who know nothing about you as a customer save time and money? Perhaps it works for the business but as a customer, I can't quite agree with the philosophy. 

Outsource was a natural offspring of the computer age that was necessary to support a world population that has tripled since the 1950s.  It wasn't about making something better, it was about creating work for all those people who were willing to work for low wages and benefits. 

Tell me again why the single income household is a bad idea.  Certainly, I wanted to do something with my life besides dust and do dishes but it seems like we could have come up with something better than spending countless hours on a phone talking to a person who is simply looking at a computer screen and trying to find an answer to a problem he/she has never even experienced. 

As we get a break from the pandemic over the summer, it will be interesting to see if customer service and call centers will become even more dysfunctional or whether they will actually become helpful. 

As much as I hope, customer service improves, I think it will take more than a few months of forced online shopping to do the trick. 😉

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Return from Exile: The End of a Self-Imposed Period of Reflection

Within a matter of weeks, I had gone from a successfully rated ghost writer to being part of the ever growing supply of "fake news".  Nothing had changed in my freelance job or client requests but something had changed in the way I viewed my writing and its role in keeping people informed.

It started with an uneasiness in my sense of ethics and soon progressed to outright anger as I was critiqued by today's not-too-high standards of internet information.  I might not have much in this world but I still had my sense of honor and responsibility to those who would read what I put down in print.

Certainly, there were other factors in making this a 15-month period of self-exile and reflection.  The death of a relative, health issues that dogged me as well as a few important lifestyle decisions that needed careful planning.  Writing 10,000 words a week and meeting deadlines, even on weekends, leaves precious little time for one's own thoughts.  Quitting was the only path to taking care of personal and family concerns.  AND SO I DID - without notice and without regrets.

Now, coming back and doing this the way I had planned seems doable.  A challenging Summer that moved into a difficult Fall which morphed into a world altering few weeks in isolation has a way of letting light into the conscious mind.  BUT IN MY CASE - a few weeks in isolation gave my family the focus it craved for some long-awaited personal adjustments.

Life is not that different than before. I still type on a 12-year old Mac computer.  The dog still spends many hours at my feet and I do not spend nearly enough time cleaning house.  Additions include a nicely retired spouse, some improvement in the health department and a view of the future that seems secure and interesting. 

That said, there will be some changes in what you will see on this blog and how it will be presented. The gist of it is this:

Author Only Posts
Unlike other media outlets, every word here will be written by me or cited to give credit to the original author as it always has been. 

Classified for Clarity
Each posts\ will be labeled to identify its purpose. Posts will never be to "stir-the-pot" or pit one group against another. I write for my own pleasure but also because I feel the responsibility to accurately present the public with information to make their lives better.  That sense of responsibility is what separates 'Journalism' from internet marketing.   

The blog will be 100% reader and author supported.  I ask that you consider supporting this blog if you find something of interest. For now, all I can do is thank you for reading and taking the time to comment appropriately. 

I suppose that's all there is for now.

Welcome to the New Just a Touch of Sass

Its Author
Sarah Schrumpt-Deacon