Saturday, March 31, 2007

Phone Hell, Part II

On one of my other blogs, I posted about Phone Hell. Here's a similar experience.

Don't you just love automated menu-driven telephone systems answering when you call a business? I've come to accept them somewhat, finding that many times, through patience and careful listening skills, I can get the info I need without troubling someone on the payroll.

However, sometimes you just need to talk to a person. The menus are usually very comprehensive, but they don't cover it all. The VERY LAST item on the menu is what you need to press "to speak with a Customer Service Representative."

I've found that sometimes, however, if you don't press anything at all, you will get transferred to a human immediately because they think you have a dial telephone line. This trick is specially handy if they are looking for ten forms of ID before you get the menu.

"Please enter your mother's maid's name."

Recently, I had the need to call an institution to inquire about a service that I was certain would not be in the menu. Here is how I was originally greeted:

"If you are calling from a TouchTone ® phone, please enter your account and PIN number, NOW!"

Never mind the fact that "PIN number" is redundant. I opted to hold. A few seconds later:

"If you are calling from a TouchTone ® phone, please press One, NOW!"

Apparently, the computer knew that I MUST have a TouchTone ® phone. I mean, after all, who doesn't?? Is there really a likelihood that a person calling such an institution would still be using a DIAL phone? C'mon! Let's get with the technology, huh? It was obvious that the computer was on to me. It wanted to trick me into admitting that I had a TouchTone ® phone. I continued to hold. Finally, the biggest laugh came a few seconds later:

"We are sorry you are having trouble. Please hold, and a Customer Service Representative will be with you shortly."

"HAVING TROUBLE"??? I didn't even realize I was having trouble! It was no trouble at all to sit on the phone and wait to talk to a REAL person, which eventually occurred. The only trouble I remember was trying to think of who is "We" that felt sorry for me.

Another try ...

This reminds me of another recent attempt to call a business and actually try to talk to a person.

I was on my fourth 800 number. I was looking for someone to tell me some information from my employee profile. A recorded voice said to me, "To speak to a Human Resources representative, press 7."

For a moment, I thought I had found my key! The voice used the "H" word! Human! To speak to a "Human" resources rep! Then it dawned on me that the voice was not promising a "Human" resources rep, I was to be hooked with the "Human Resources" dept. Oh, well. Maybe there will be a "Human" on the other end of THIS selection.

"All of our Human Resources representatives are busy helping other clients just like you! Please hold and the next representative will BE RIGHT WITH YOU!!!" (emphasis mine.)

Well, finally I was connected to a human, feeling secure in my belief that my journey through recorded telephone hell was at its end.

"Thank you for calling Human Resources; this is Elaine; How may I direct your call?"



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