Paraphrasing the English poet, John Milton, who lamented his growing blindness and the time he wasted while he could see.  Time is the most valuable thing we have because it can never be replaced.

Time for businesses means money because of the cost of employees.  Much of what employees used to do has been downloaded to customers saving those businesses significant costs.

Now we spend our time at self checkouts at grocery stores and gas stations, using ATM machines, and driving through and picking up food at restaurants.

How much wait time do we spend waiting on a phone call to complain or correct a transaction problem?  How many times have we heard that “Your call is important to us”?  How many times have you bailed out on a call waiting after losing patience?  That is a calculated balance of time against patience.

Your call is important to them.  It is saving them money and personnel time.  Would you rather spend more and save time?  It matters what your time is worth and what resources you have.

The internet arrived just in time to download more time from seller to buyer.  Instead of expensive personnel dealing with you, you can try to sort out the problem yourself.  For the smaller percent of people who cannot figure out a solution, there is always waiting time on the phone.  In any case, there is significantly less staff time needed for more and more complicated problems.

Web is yet another option to address mistakes and get customers lost in the loop.

More than ten years ago I did a post about how companies were turning customers into jerks if the customer wanted to get any satisfaction.  The gamble is in the fall off of complaints versus the cost of correcting them.  If people give up and just continue their behaviour, the company wins.

On the other hand, the build up distrust and animosity between buyers and sellers is getting more and more antagonistic.  Our patience has worn thin as our time is being uploaded to vendors who are downloading services for us to self satisfy.

Service levels are like wealth disparity; they skew towards the richer consumer. The richer consumer’s time is worth a lot, it makes sense for them to spend a little more and get the exception treatment, faster services.  For many years we worked with Chubb Insurance whose coverage was significantly more expensive than other property insurers.  But their claims service was exception, quick, thorough and had little time demands on those who suffered losses.  Anyone who had a loss with Chubb became a raving fan.

If you paid $1,000 more per year, but when you had a loss you spent virtually no time following up, it was cost effective if you are a high earner.  I had a loss before Chubb and spent hours following up and getting estimates and records. It felt like a double loss.

If you have lower value time, expect to spend it on fulfilling your services and purchases – checking out your own groceries, waiting on a phone call to complain.  Time is money.

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