Thursday, July 2, 2009

Automated Madness


I hate getting lost in the land of automated answering systems!


Why do you have to punch in your account number, only to have to repeat it again IF you ever get connected to a human being? “Please enter your account number so that we can access your records to make this call more efficient.” NOT!

Why doesn’t every company connect you to a living, sometimes-thinking, perhaps-able-to-help-you, human being if you punch ‘0’? Remember when ‘O’ was for ‘operator’?

Why, when you finally get a human being, is it always the wrong one! “I’m sorry. I’m in tech support. I think you need someone in billing.” Then, they transfer you to yet another automated answering service! Don’t they know how to call co-workers directly?

Why is the option I need NEVER one on the menu? Yesterday I needed, “To report charges to your account for which you are not responsible because some identity theft needs to go to jail, please press 7.”

Where do these calls go? I must have talked to about 16 different people yesterday trying to get a Verizon Internet situation cleared up, and only about 5 of them spoke without heavy, heavy accents. I had to ask 2 to transfer me to someone that I could understand. I’m sorry. But I just don’t hear Indian or Asian accents enough to be able to understand the words that they are saying in English. Are these answering services overseas where taxes and salaries are low?

Our system at work is problematic, too. Every call I get from anyone in any building shows the same return name and number on my phone! It’s a school system, so if a parent misses a call from a teacher at one school, the only number shown on caller ID is the central office. And, of course, the receptionist has no idea who called that parent anymore than I know who has called me. (Leave voice mails, for crying out loud!)

I was on the phone so long yesterday that my battery ran down and the phone ran hot. I feared damage to my ear, but feared having to start the whole process over from scratch worse! I don’t know that my blood pressure rose, but I do know that I got angry. If my call was “monitored for quality control purposes,” I know no one heard any cursing. THAT took a lot of self-control!

If, by using these systems, our bills stay smaller, then I’ll shut up and put up with it. It sure is wonderful, however, to be able to explain from the get-go what you need and be directed to the one and only person in the building who can solve your problem. Today I had to call the Retirement Systems of Alabama, a huge bureaucracy with great potential to make my blood boil. Not only did a human being answer the phone, but we had a very pleasant exchange and she connected me to an equally pleasant lady who answered my questions. If I hadn’t chit-chatted a little with these pleasant ladies, my call would have taken two minutes. If it's possible there, it should be possible anywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Great rant! I have those days too. And you are right - what happened to customer service that it is okay to be passed through automated message after automated message only to get the wrong person, or give your details over again?!