I can’t get no … revisited

It’s Open Season for choosing health care options at my company, and probably at yours.

Personally, I think that they call it something else, because I’m pretty sure that most people associate “open season” with hunting.  And people who get as frustrated as I have trying to have relatively simple questions answered should not be invited to think of firearms.

It's a simple question! ANSWER IT!!!  (Google image)

It’s a simple question! ANSWER IT!!! (Google image)

Instead of shooting anyone, or permanently damaging my own vocal chords screaming into the phone, I thought I would bring back this post nobody ever read.

*     *     *

Automated telephone answering systems are responsible for the 40% increase in psychotic events over the past 15 years.

That’s my theory, anyway. My hypothesis. I’m not sure how to prove it, but it is true. My secondary hypothesis is that all incidents of domestic terrorism are directly tied to automated telephone systems. The FBI should investigate.

Personally, I become psychotic each and every time I have to press 1 for this and 2 for that. I’ll cut them a break for language, though. I have no problem pressing 1 for English. People need to grumble in their native tongue. Spanish speakers should have that right too.

But in fact, nobody gets to bitch. We just press 1 or 2 respectively and listen to additional options, none of which are what we want. None of the prompts are even close to what really want to do. None of them says “Press 4 to scream at a human.”

I become progressively more apoplectic with each and every telephone prompt. Eventually, with perseverance, I finally get a person. And by the time I do, that person on their end of the telephone is thinking long and hard about their career choice.

It’s not their fault. I always tell them that. I know it is true. But that fact doesn’t alleviate any of my anger at the time I have spent just to get to them. And nine times out of ten, the human I have reached is the wrong human in the wrong department and usually in the wrong country. I must start again. My psychosis soars along with my blood pressure.

There is even one telephone prompt voice that makes my blood boil. I call her Sybil. Sybil is everywhere: at my cable company and my power company and a couple of the banks I briefly considered doing business with until I heard her speak. She is young, chatty. She pretends to be my friend. She is not my friend. I do not want to be friends with a telephone prompt. I do not want to talk to her. I do not want to do anything she asks of me. And I really do not want to press her buttons. She is pressing mine. Remotely.

On average, after approximately 5 different prompts I am invariably led to a dead end where I have the same four original choices, none of which remotely fulfilled my need at the start. Or, if somehow one of the choices would work, I am promptly disconnected. I must start again with Sybil.

I am pretty sure the cost savings in terms of personnel is not worth it for businesses. Often by the time I am done with a call about this or that, I am ready to destroy the building. And if all your customers feel that way—and they do–perhaps you should rethink your policy.

One minute with a person early on and my problem would have been solved, amicably, and I would be a satisfied customer. Instead, an hour later, I would give all that I own for a battalion of similarly psychotic customers who would help me storm company headquarters and pin down just one human for us to yell at in turn. But by the time my turn comes, of course, I will have forgotten why I want to yell at them. And then I’ll have to talk to Sybil again.

67 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Gun control, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Humor, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Wild Beasts

67 responses to “I can’t get no … revisited

  1. So many of the places I phone have automated phones & they just generally piss me off – so I do what I have to do to circumvent them! I make note or memorize what combination of buttons for this particular place will get me a human to help me – for Rexall, it’s 1 then 3 & voila I’m talking to an actual person in the pharmacy!
    I have actually talked to some of these companies & told them I have pulled my business from them because I can’t talk to a human. If they don’t want to employ someone to talk to me, I don’t want to give them my business! So there!

    Like

    • You said it, Benze. They do just piss us off, don’t they? Does telling the company help? I’ve never found that it does. Because the ones who care have real people — the ones that don’t, don’t!

      Like

  2. Just yesterday, I had the boys in the car and was calling the pharmacy on speaker phone. After I (FINALLY) got through to a human and completed my call, my eldest said, “That was torture! It took forever to get to a person.” If you can annoy a 10yo, you know it’s bad!

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  3. Julie

    HA! My cable company has out done all other companies! I pulled out my bill to call to ask why the football game stalls. Only the football game and usually right at the moment something exciting is happening, and when it starts to roll again, that exciting thing happened and you have to figure out if it was good or bad. So I call the customer service number on the bill. The only number on the bill. It is not even the cable company. It is another company that handles the bills. So I could make a payment with them but they had no idea what was going on with my cable, nor could they check anything, nor could they provide me with a phone number to call. Perhaps I should not pay my bill. I bet they will get a hold of me quick then!

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    • We actually just had a repairman come out to fix that exact problem — he said it was caused by us getting — and i am NOT making this up — TOO MUCH SIGNAL! Go figure.

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      • Julie

        Oooo! Maybe that is it! My girl said she got home one day and the cable guy was in front of our house. He was about to leave but when he saw her he told her that we had a “leak” in our cable. I guess he had already checked out the outside. She brought him in and he was checking with some kind of gadget when she showed him the cable connection to her room. (it was obviously bad at some point so a cat or two had to teach it a lesson, only to keep us safe obviously). We had wrapped it with electrical tape. He replaced it.

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  4. Just called the other day and then after all the options got “Please call us during our regular office hours between 8 and 6.” I called at 6:28 PM after a very busy day and I had been assured (by someone else) they answer until 8:00. Couldn’t they have said “Please call (blahblah)” first?

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Progress! I hate the telephone maze. Use to be a time you can press 0 and you got a human not anymore.

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  6. Amen, AMEN! Half of my ulcers are a direct result of phone message trees. You just know they were designed so you’ll give up in frustration and hang up, thereby saving them the trouble of providing any service.

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  7. Getting through the prompts increases my frustration level … and I imagine the reason I was making the call in the first place was a concern about something. …… ELEVEN!!!!

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  8. We get one named “Amy” calling us constantly and I just about ready to jump through the phone and destroy “Amy.”

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  9. Sadly I know this experience, and I have the same reaction

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  10. Even though I try to pretend I’m capable of maintaining some sense of patience and pleasantries while going through the motions of pressing 1 English and then pressing 2 for this, and 3 for that, and 4 to repeat this menu, the truth is that by the time I get to an actual person, I’m usually contorted in anger, and the dogs are as far away from me as doggily possible within the confines of the walls of my home. Their dog radar goes up, probably the first time I start cussing at the phone, and they run for cover. I feel a whole lot sorrier for my dogs on those days than I do for the person on the other end of the phone, but I do try, really I do, to remember that they are just doing their job, and I try to be civil. Assuming, of course, that their scripted lines allow for a civil conversation. Gnashing of teeth and swearing like a sailor don’t usually fall within the realms of civility.

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    • I even play the “be zen and be cool” game before making the call, but it usually gets lost somewhere between getting disconnected and finally, with my dying breath, getting to speak to a human being (who usually can’t resolve the issue anyway). I’m feeling your pain. Press 5 for patience. Now press it again. And again. And again. 🙂

      Like

      • Yes, I do that, too. I have to really psyche myself up to call anything that I know will induce rage — which is all of the “push button” crowd. Somehow, I always end up being the one who has to do it at my house. My husband always seems to wait until I am ready to do it — he never does it himself except under extreme circumstances! Obviously, he’s smarter than I am.

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  11. Hmm…y’know, I’m still interviewing for medical jobs right now…maybe I should just sign up for a career in being a human to yell at? I bet I’d make loads of moulah.

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    • I for one would pay you big bucks, Darla. But then I’d know it was you and I wouldn’t want to yell. Not at you anyway. You don’t push my buttons!

      I was wondering how the job front was looking for you — hope something turns up soon!

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  12. Could go on and on about this. Number one on wish list – live person. The closer their chair is to my town, the better.

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  13. Paul

    Yep, the automated answering systems have become a much hated part of our lives. I can’t help but wonder why businesses don’t know just how hated these things are.

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  14. Truth , they don’t call it costumer service for nothing

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  15. lifespaller

    You didn’t mention the waiting music. Do they save money on that? In Australia I’ve noticed we get a lot of 1990s Aussie rock, which gets strangled down the lines from India.

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  16. NotAPunkRocker

    Open Enrollment?

    Unfortunately, our system has caught on to us chronic dial 0 or press pound people. I get “that’s an invalid option, please call at a different time”. Ugh!

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  17. I just had one today, I laughed and laughed. Verizon wanted me to take their survey…so first it was voice prompts. I spoke very low, Verizon couldn’t understand my response. Then I was asked to use my keypad, well Verizon couldn’t understand my response using their phone…to bad so sad, you lose Verizon.

    My response, each and every time 0

    ;0

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  18. Oregano’s theory with the health insurance’s infuriating phone tree is that they are hoping you’ll either get well or die while you’re waiting to speak to a human. Either way, their problem is solved.

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  19. The automation is bad enough, but I hate when I finally reach someone, give them the whole story, only to be told I need So-and-So instead. So they transfer me. I punch more numbers. Then I speak to another human, give the whole story, and find out once again I need to speak to someone else. Arrgghh!! Recently I received customer service through online chatting. It was much less painful and more to an introvert’s style. Got to type my questions and responses and didn’t have to speak to anyone. 🙂

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  20. Automated voices, ATM machines, and now self-check-outs at stores. And they call this a SERVICE economy? I think it’s more of a SELF-service economy!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Sometimes pressing 0 once doesn’t work, but pressing it, like, 20-30 times (stab-stab-stab …) makes the system transfer to an attendant, possibly to learn who the lunatic is who doesn’t follow instructions. But my favorite part of the whole automated system is the point where I’m told my call is very important …

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  22. Oh, and the State Government! There’s one number I must call a lot for work. You push all the right buttons to get to the right department, and THEN the recording says, “Our staff is currently busy, call back again later.” (click.) EVERY TIME. They shouldn’t even have a phone. They never use it.

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  23. I also remember a time when customer service actually meant servicing the customer..Then? It began easier & more economical(as we all know but loathe..) to downsize & convert to automated systems..Less employees & I honestly believe they’re hoping you get SO tired of prompts and/or holding ; that you just give up…Great expression in this post & I concur!

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  24. I couldn’t agree more… I do not want to talk to a machine… I want to talk to a real person in India… named Fred… who obviously cares deeply about the quality of my customer service… which may or may not be being recorded…

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  25. I absolutely loathe those telephone answering robots.

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  26. I am old enough to remember when the only automated phone thing was the Time & Temperature Lady at the local bank. But then again she was at EVERY local bank in the country.

    You are correct — Sybil.

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  27. You probably already know this, but some of your readers might not: I learned a long time ago that for most automated systems, if you press “0” (zero) every time they ask a question, you’ll only get about three attempts before you’re shunted to a human.

    That’s “most” systems. I don’t think I’ve ever had it work with a government program, however. That’s because they really don’t care whether or not you get your problem solved.

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    • Thanks, Daddy Bear. I blame Ronald Reagan for that government policy, as well as all the other things wrong with today’s government.

      Pressing 0 often works. Not today. Today as I shouted “Representative,” “Human,” “Give me somebody to talk to,” and a few less polite requests, Sybil kept saying “a representative will be with you in a moment but before that I need … I wanted a bazooka.

      Liked by 1 person

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