Doing Well on My Own

심민정, 임재도l승인2020.04.04l수정2020.04.04 17:39l378호 1면

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  “I know sellers are trying to help me, but sometimes their kindness makes me feel pressured,” said Ms. Kim a student who often goes to shopping. In the business world where the customer’s comfort is primordial for increased sales, a clerk’s excessive kindness can sometimes make the customer feel uncomfortable. Untact service is a preference for self-driven services that arose out of the adeptness of millennials for using machines. But is this the only reason for its growth? The Dankook Herald (the DKH) investigated.

▲ Someone is ordering drinks by using the app(Photo from Sisafocus)

  Millennials, proficient in the realm of IT, can access the information they need from the Internet with ease. They no longer require the help of salespeople to give them answers and advice. In fact, these days more people than ever are seeking out any available untact services because they are exhausted from the time consuming need to make unnecessary connections.

  Another reason for the rise in self-service consumption is the current social atmosphere. The spread of COVID-19 around the world has led many people to fear they will be infected if they make contact with strangers. For this reason, people avoid all unnecessary personal contact and stay at home all day. Food delivery or grocery shopping apps are helping consumers meet their basic needs, while making limited contact with people. They prefer the use of technology they can rely on, rather than a risky interaction with someone who might have contracted the virus.

 The increasing minimum wage can also be regarded as the reason for the expansion of untact services. The introduction of self-service machines has helped store owners reduce overhead by replacing costly staff with technology. They are also able to deliver the product to the customer faster.

  The DKH interviewed Dankookians (Students of Dankook University) to learn more about how They feel about the new direction in service delivery. “Sometimes it is hard for me to explain what I need to the seller,” said Ms. Park. “I know they don’t care as much as I think, nevertheless I’m worried I cannot explain what I am looking for.” For Ms. Park, the service intended on making customers comfortable, is making her uncomfortable. According to our interviewees, untact services changes their lives. Ms. Kim said, “It’s not only shopping. I feel the same pressure from restaurant staff when I take a long time picking from the menu. However, after self-service kiosks were installed at restaurants, I no longer had to worry. I could place my order by myself.” Ms. Park added, “Before taxi applications came out, I could not take a cab. I was always worried about safety.” However, new taxi apps include safety services putting her mind at ease, turning her into a taxi-lover. “In cosmetic shops that offer ‘browse alone’ services, I never feel the burden to buy. I feel free to look around. For these conveniences, I hope to see more untact services developed,” Ms. Kim said and Ms. Park agreed.

  While there are many positive points to the self-service world, there are some negative effects too. The rapid commercialization of untact services, such as self- service kiosks has led to a shortage of jobs, putting added pressure on the already overburdened level of unemployment. This is clearly not good for our economy. In addition, we have a long history of 'jeong culture' in our society.  It is an affection for employees at a store. However, with the rise in untact services, this culture is rapidly disappearing. Our society is at risk of evolving from community of association to a community of isolation.

  It is clear that untact services alleviate the social burdens felt by some when being forced to interact with salespeople. They also help lower overhead and increase efficiency in business operations. However, with their introduction and expansion, we are also at risk of losing our connections between people, an important factor in social development. The rise of the millennial consumer group is driving this change and since comfort of the customer is key to sales, and untact services are what makes this generation more comfortable, it will remain the preferred method for service delivery for customers for years to come.

▲ Kiosk, a machine provides some information and service, settled in restaurant.(Photo from SBS)

심민정, 임재도  dankookherald@gmail.com
<저작권자 © The Dankook Herald, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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