You Are in Charge of Everything Whether You Want to be or Not

Time to Get on a Plane?

What has the advent of technology done to erode client relations and expectations? The widespread adoption of technologies and applications has undoubtedly had its advantages, but it, too, has had its limitations. While some companies are still able to provide excellent service, others are wildly failing. Some of this failure comes from the weight of knowledge required to engage with this technology being thrust on the end user. Not only do you now need to know what you’ve spent your whole life excelling at. You also need to become an expert in other industries just to ensure you get what you need.



Rob (00:00):

This is Think Smart with TMFG, your weekly podcast of what’s newsworthy and relevant to everyday Canadians. With your hosts, senior financial advisors, Rob McClelland and Mike Connon of The McClelland Financial Group of Assante Capital Management. Today on Think Smart with TMFG, Mike and I are going to be discussing the world has completely changed. And Mike, you are in charge of everything, whether you want it or not. So things have changed and this was accelerated during the pandemic and things have changed dramatically. And a lot of it started with our cell phones and we used to have to a phone booth to make a call and then we had home phones and then we had cell phones.


And we’d use these cell phones, but suddenly they became smartphones and you could do certain things on your smartphone that you couldn’t do beforehand. What’s happened is companies around the world have basically said, “We’re going to give you complete control.” So let’s use an example. ATMs, you used to go to the bank before if you needed to make a deposit or take out money, you had to see a teller. And then they put a machine in front of the store, which was called an ATM. And I remember my father never really mastered the ATM and he would’ve been 100 this year. So, this was his 100th birthday. So he was born in 1922, but he never mastered it. But now you don’t even need to go to the ATM. The device is in your hand. You can do online banking, you can pay bills, you can send people money, you can do whatever you want.

Mike (01:53):

You can take a picture of a cheque now, it just goes right into your account.

Rob (01:57):

You don’t even need to have a void cheque anymore. You can find your void cheque on your bank app.

Mike (02:02):

We had, when I was a kid, I remember being about eight-years-old and we had a liquor store. So every day you had to go and bring the money into the bank and the lineup was literally about 45 minutes. I’d go with my mother, she’d put me in line, it was the most boring part of my day. Standing in this bank line up. And there was about 50 people in line and there was about 12 tellers around and a single file line would go each time to the teller. But it was at least a half an hour. As a kid it felt like five hours, but it was a long wait all the time.

Rob (02:32):

So, hold that thought about timing for a little bit. Let’s explore some other things that have gone online. Restaurants have gone online. During the pandemic, you could suddenly order your restaurant food at home and it would be delivered. You could order your pizza, your Chinese food. You could even order your fine dining to be delivered at home. You can today order your marijuana to be delivered at home. You can order your alcohol to be delivered at home, you’re in charge. And you can do that all with a click of a button on your smartphone.

Mike (03:03):

That’s pretty good.

Rob (03:04):

Insurance companies have also caught on. No longer can you call an insurance company and actually talk to someone. You need to do everything from your phone. You need to log into the website if you want to look at your policy, if you want to make a change to your policy, that’s how you do it. You need to call to get it done.

Mike (03:23):

Some of it’s not bad. Those little insurance slips come in. I think I’m on Intact and they all come on my phone, so now I don’t have 100 little slips. I used to-

Rob (03:30):

But do you store them in a proper place on your phone? That’s the better question.

Mike (03:34):

Well, the problem is when someone borrows your car too, do they have them? So, I’m always sending them out to my kids to make sure they have proper insurance for their cars.

Rob (03:41):

What about phone companies? Bell, Rogers in this country have basically put you in control. They want you to do everything on the phone. And the problem is, and we’ll go to the problem in a minute, so what about goods? I never thought I would buy clothing online. I never thought I would buy shoes online. I now buy the majority of my clothing online.

Mike (04:10):

Yeah, remember about 10 years ago we, no, it was over. It was probably about 15 years ago. We went to see the guy from Zappos and it seems so odd. He made his fortune off selling shoes online and it seemed like the weirdest thing 15 or 20 years ago when we went to hear him. But yeah, it just makes sense, he was ahead of the-

Rob (04:29):

And he had a great return policy, you could just put them in the mail and that always seemed complicated. But today, people do that all the time.

Mike (04:36):

He was ahead of the curve.

Rob (04:37):

They put it in the mail. Groceries now delivered online. We’ve got Grocery Gateway, we’ve got Longo’s delivering, Longo’s trucks going to your neighborhood. Financial services, everything’s online as we’ve discussed. So, is all of this good? You’ve got control of everything. What are some of the problems when you have control?

Mike (04:58):

Well, sometimes the people on the other end used to help you because they understood the products better than you do. Now you’re stuck understanding not everything that you do, everything that every other company does in the world and you have to know their systems, how things work, which is very difficult.

Rob (05:13):

I think I’m pretty good at technology. I go onto some of these websites, they’re absolutely horrible. So then you try and find a phone number to call and you can’t. But this next generation that’s coming along, they’re not frustrated like we are. They’re used to doing everything. I’ve told the story about, Mike, when we were out with our kids at a park in Vancouver and we’re in the middle of the park and they just ordered food to be delivered into the middle of the park. I’m still astounded by that. So, they’re used to getting their way. The problem is the big companies in the world haven’t figured out how to deliver this. And yet at the same time, what have they done? They’ve let go all their staff or they’re all working from home. So what are wait times like, Mike? Tell me some of your frustration with wait times.

Mike (06:05):

Oh, wait times. Credit cards have been the worst. Usually when you get on a credit card, it’s at least an hour and a half to two and a half hours to get to talk to someone. And it was funny, I can’t help but saying this, but the recording that comes out, we says, “We regret that you’re waiting on the line.” Last time I got someone, when they answered the phone, I said, “Did you regret it yesterday? And you still haven’t hired someone today? If you didn’t hire someone between yesterday and you regretted it, you didn’t really regret it, did you? You’ve accepted it.” I said, “Let’s just get this straight. You’ve accepted that we’re going to wait two and a half hours. You don’t regret that I had to wait two and a half hours.”

Rob (06:39):

So, I had an interesting one on the weekend. I had, as I’ve discussed before, we’re rebuilding our main cottage and so I’m having to set up the internet at the main cottage. So I was initially told that I had to start with a new service. I then got a call from the service provider, Bell, who said, “No sir, it’s not a new service, it’s a repair job.” Sure enough, this past Friday, two service trucks arrived to install my internet and they had a look around and they said, “Well, you’re not going to like us today.” I said, “Well why?” “Well, we can’t install your internet.”


“Well why?” “Well, because it’s a new service.” I said, “No. I was told, it’s not a new service, it’s a repair.” “Sorry sir. We can’t do anything.” And he gave me the vice president’s name of customer service. He said, “If you fire off an email to this gentleman, he might be able to help you.” That’s how bad things are with these companies. And I get it, they’re struggling because they thought technology could solve everything for them and it can’t. They’re not Amazon. Amazon’s got it figured out. The rest of the world, most of them don’t.

Mike (07:46):

Yeah, I guess they like the idea of what Amazon’s done and everyone thinks they can have the efficiencies. I was on my way up north. I went to go and book a restaurant on the way up and you can’t call and talk to anyone. They keep on telling me, “Book online.” You’re driving and I don’t feel like making a reservation online. You feel like someone would pick up the phone at the restaurant and say, “Can I get a table for two at seven o’clock?” But no, they’ve changed all their systems. No one picks up the phone. It’s not very personal anymore.

Rob (08:13):

The other issue is pricing. And I’ll give an example. I have a flight coming up to LA, to go to a conference. And I needed to make a change because I wasn’t going to fly back directly from LA to Toronto. I wanted to go to Vancouver first. I was told that I could change this on the app, I could not do it. Well, I couldn’t do it. I finally stood on hold for two and a half hours waiting to talk to an agent. While I’m on hold, I actually figure out on the app two hours in that I could make the change, but they were going to charge me $100. What do you think the agent did when I changed the flight? He gave me a credit of $400.


So there’s a $500 difference between using the app and talking to a human. Waiting two and a half hours saved me $500. Same thing happened again today. I was parking at a restaurant downtown or at a hotel, I should say. It was extremely expensive. I was there for half the day. The parking, it said, “If you want to pay for your parking and order your car, download this app.” I download it and the price was $52. I couldn’t get the app to work. I got frustrated. I went to the reception and I said, I just want to pay for my car. It was $50, so hold it. “If I use your technology, it’s more expensive than if I just pay you direct?” This is what’s going on in the marketplace and I don’t know what the solution is.

Mike (09:36):

I’m not driving downtown anymore. $50?

Rob (09:38):

$50 a day. I was surprised, right? Another interesting one that I had, so in Barrie, Ontario, there’s a super drive through where you can get gas and restaurants and one of the places is Popeyes. So they’ve now moved that you can’t order food from a person, you have to go to the kiosks. And so, I go over to the kiosks and there’s three of them and they’re all broken. So I go back to the Popeye’s place and I say, “I need to place the order.” She goes, “Well sir, we can’t. The machine’s broken. We can only do cash today because you can’t order through the kiosk.” The system’s broken. I don’t know how it’s going to get fixed. I know it’s very difficult for older clients. Anyone 65 and older or 60 and older is really struggling with this.

Mike (10:24):

I know this is going to create controversy and comments back on our podcast, but from my experience, the states has done things better than Canada. When you go to restaurants, I was just down in the States two weeks ago. I went to a Chick-fil-A. It was incredible, the service at that place. I also realized how great they… It was just an incredible experience. I walked in about four or five restaurants in the States, and it was always a phenomenal experience. They seemed to be more concerned about the customer. I don’t know what it was. We were talking about that they seemed to have more concern about the customer being happy and the efficiencies of how quickly. Canada has really moved toward this straight efficiency and not worried about the customers-

Rob (11:03):

Whether the customers happy or not.

Mike (11:03):

There’s no experience there. And maybe it’s just me, but I found when I started, and maybe it was because I was in Southern US and they’re a bit more adaptive to that right now, but the service was incredible down there.

Rob (11:14):

I think the real problem is we expect everyone to be Amazon. Unfortunately, they’re not. The technology only works some of the time, and the problem is, there’s no backup plan. There’s no one you can reach out to unless you are willing to wait for two and a half hours to get it resolved. That brings us to the end of another week. Thank you for joining us. If you’re looking for a financial advisor, visit our website at Or call us at 905-771-5200. This episode has been brought to you by The McClelland Financial Group of Assante Capital Management, reminding you to live the life that makes you happy.

Assante Capital Management (12:06):

You’ve been listening to The McClelland Financial Group of Assante Capital Management Limited. Assante Capital Management Limited is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. Insurance products and services are provided through Assante Estate and Insurance Services Incorporated. This material is provided for general information and is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources. However, no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the previous information, please make sure to see a professional advisor for individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Assante Capital Management Limited.


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