April 22, 2024

SHELLADY: ‘Technology lets everyone hide behind their computers’ | Agriculture

You know I love the fall.

This morning on the way to work, I witnessed the most beautiful harvest moon that I have seen in a long time. I moved to Tennessee in June, so this is my first fall in the area. I was not a big fan of the hot and humid swamp that it initially felt like but over the last four days, the weather has broken, and I couldn’t be happier.

It has been the most wonderful autumn weather. I have been waiting for almost five months and the wait was worth it. There is nothing like a crisp blue sky and a 55-degree day. Heaven.

We are about 60{18fa003f91e59da06650ea58ab756635467abbb80a253ef708fe12b10efb8add}through harvest in the country according to the USDA. Things have been moving quickly due to the fact we have been enjoying the weather I describe above. There doesn’t seem to be anything too threatening to interrupt the progress, so I hope everyone gets what they need to get done.

I have been in the financial markets for 34 years. Every now and again I need to check myself and try and not be that old guy in the corner of the room that opposes everything.

I love technology and am willing to get behind any good idea that it can help make better. The only thing that I have been having a problem with as of late is the dreaded customer service sector. Am I the only one that thinks that the level of customer service has sunk to some new all-time lows?

Technology lets everyone hide behind their computers. I have a service that I pay for on an annual basis. Without getting into the weeds too much this service tracks my media hits on TV and the radio. It is a great way to track my hits and see how many people I was reaching. The app is fairly straightforward and up until this week, I have not had any issue with it. I did attempt to go in a tweak a few of my searches and for some reason, I screwed up everything.

I looked for a number to call – no number. I emailed my sales representative, and to his credit, he was attentive and put me in touch with customer service. The next morning, I received an email from customer service instructing me to watch a video that should answer all my questions and show me, step by step, how to do what I was trying to get done. I replied that I was really busy and highlighted the changes I was trying to make to my account and my searches. I was just looking for a little handholding, I am busy, I had tried and just wanted a little help.

I am not totally helpless but for what I pay for the service, I didn’t think that what I was asking for was out of line. I received a second email, sternly pushing me towards watching the video and doing the changes myself.

This is where I begin to feel old-fashioned.

Was I asking too much to have someone talk to me?

It was as if I was in the grocery store and the cashier was pushing me towards the self-checkout aisle. I was confused as to why they couldn’t see what they were doing. They were trying to get themselves fired. They were trying to get themselves replaced by a robot. They were trying to make themselves obsolete and couldn’t even see it. I was a tad bit frustrated. The customer service rep was saved by the manager on the line who performed the tasks that I was enquiring about.

Are we at the point that people don’t talk to each other anymore? That is what I love about a good old country tavern. You know, the one with the horseshoe bar which almost makes it impossible for you to not talk to the people around you. There is no loud music to get in the way. Maybe there is a faint TV in the background with a rerun of Jeopardy but nothing to get in the way of conversation.

Have we lost that as a society? Maybe I am too old. Maybe technology has reduced us to screen jockeys and we don’t even know it. This whole technology thing is a monster unto itself. Lots of services today have no way for you to talk to a human. It is almost out of style now. I once gave a speech about four or five years ago to a bunch of farmers and I was focusing on technology.

The combine cabs nowadays are incredibly technologically advanced. At the time that I was giving the speech, I pointed out that there was a brothel in Amsterdam and a brothel in Las Vegas that only featured lifelike female prostitute robots. There were no real-life prostitutes in the brothel. Putting aside the moral arguments against brothels, I thought it was astounding that the world’s oldest profession was putting human prostitutes out of business.

In a world where the oldest profession is being made obsolete by technology, then we all have something to worry about in our own jobs and situations.

No job and nobody was going to be safe from the advance of technology. Somethings will take longer to advance than others, but I have already seen driverless combines and tractors. I have no idea where this all goes but I do know that agriculture will be the last holdout. Technology has made massive impacts in the hybrids we plant and the way we harvest but you will still need a farmer to move the herd, hang a door or trim some trees. Drones can’t do everything.

I love the agricultural space. This is a place where I feel comfortable. This is a place where I don’t feel that old. This is a place where common sense is common, and your handshake means more than a DocuSign document you click and sign online. It is nice to see the vet and the seed sales guy every now and again.

They both know how to give great customer service – something that is obviously near and dear to my heart.

Scott Shellady serves as markets anchor for RFD-TV and appears regularly on CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN and Fox Business News.