Accessibility, timeliness key to service call

By Bruce Rothschild

How can timely service for a malfunctioning product or creation be assured in West Virginia?

“Telephone ear” waiting for online service options, long delays in obtaining appointments for service or even in obtaining a response are among the frustrations experienced in trying to resolve what are perceived as urgent problems.

Such are unfortunately a part of life. Complaining, while sometime a source of passing satisfaction, neither reduces frustration nor the underlying problem.

Rather than complain, what constructive options can we suggest to resolve the bottleneck that is as frustrating to service providers as it is to those of us being served.

One solution would be to assure that sufficient number of personnel with appropriate training and resources be available to provide the service. In a state as rural as West Virginia, it would be appreciated if such opportunities were situated within reasonable distance to those needing the service.

While reasonable distance is a moving target, what if there not only were insufficient numbers of qualified individuals to provide said service, but what if they were inconveniently located in a single non-central area of the state?

Obviously, limited resources means long and continuously expanding waiting lists — increasing delays in opportunity for service.

What are the options? Hire more personnel — if they can be found and enticed to service our state. West Virginia is a phenomenal state with a lot to offer, but I hadn’t realized just how much until I moved here. One has to visit our state to fully appreciate it and the opportunity it provides.

Another option is to not change anything, to simply suggest that the provider continue to do the best they can in providing service.

Of course, it must be recognized that the personnel have been and will continue to be running on a treadmill, with no expectance to providing more timely service in the future. That approach may, however, engender burnout risk — with a reduction of the number of providers available for service.

Perhaps there’s another consideration? Not all problems require full attention. One does not require a rocket scientist to file tax returns (although, it may seem that way).

What if there is an approach that would solve both problems — reduce the long delays and reduce the long distances that must be traveled for service?

Training regional providers of less specialized services to handle straight-forward repairs is worth considering. And, training regional providers would set up lines of communication that would facilitate timely intervention for some of the more complicated problems.

The trainers would of necessity have to be those already overworked specialty service providers and reallocating time for outreach training would temporarily reduce their local productivity.

This would produce an initial delay in service availability, but would result in far greater service timeliness and accessibility.

Bruce Rothschild is a member of The Dominion Post’s Community Advisory Board.

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