Hello, Do you care?

The other day I called a company and actually got a person, a real live human being! I was so excited that I kept the person on the phone for about ten minutes asking her questions that had nothing to do with my original purpose, which was to ask about my next oil delivery. I’m sure she thought that I was a lonely woman looking for someone to communicate with, since I asked her how long she had worked at the company, if she was married and how many children she had.

      It is a rarity to make a call today and not have it be a numbers game. It used to start with press one, press two, etc . Now, however, when you press one, there are several options to choose from before you get to number two. Last week I called one of the phone companies and thought my finger was going to fall off trying to navigate all the choices. I found myself getting crazier and crazier as I pressed on. I shouldn’t even be making this disclosure, since I teach stress management and encourage people not to become irrational. Finding yourself becoming more and more nuts over a robot that could care less is perhaps the height of irrationality. But, I know if someone were to take my blood pressure during the moments I am trying to get to a human, they would probably hospitalize me.

      The voices they choose for these clones is even more aggravating. One that a local medical facility uses sounds like it has taken a drug overdose. Then to top it off, it periodically announces that if you don’t understand “IT” you can start over. I would prefer watching a faucet drip all day then start over.

       The icing on the cake is the preliminary disclosure before you even begin that the call is being monitored for quality assurance. Well, if it is, then someone listening should cover their ears to protect them from the many expletives that emanate from my lips. Who is monitoring? And if they really are, they must realize by now that a lot of people are sick and tired of trying to connect to someone or something that really doesn’t care. Sure I can repeat representative, or operator over and over till the clone stops saying they can help me. Yes, eventually a person will come on. Why not put them on from the get go? People need jobs, and we need people who can actually respond to our questions, instead of simply repeating programmed responses. Yes, technology has helped us evolve, but are we also dissolving in the process?

About lorettalaroche

An international stress management and humor consultant whose wit, and irreverent humor, has, for over 30 years raised the humor potential in all of us. She is on the Mass General advisory council for anxiety and depression and was recently awarded the National Humor Treasure Award. Loretta writes a weekly newspaper column called, ‘Get a Life’.

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5 Responses to Hello, Do you care?

  1. Carrie says:

    Thank you and I completely agree! A cumbersome phone tree can drive the calmest, peace loving woman to running with scissors. Another area where we’re losing live help is cashiers and sackers at the grocery store. Growing up I was told to get an education and I wouldn’t have to be a cashier (no insults to cashiers — I love the few that remain); however, here I am with a Master’s Degree checking out and sacking my own groceries. At the end of a long day at the office, the last thing I want to do is someone else’s job. Please bring back people!

  2. loved your article on getting through to a company. here are a few others. no matter what time of day,or day, why do we hear,”we are having an unexpedted flood of calls, you can wait(until the penguins fly) or leave your phone(which we will never call) or you get a recording that is so old, you either can hardly hear it, or understand a single word. i too leave a few unkind words..many are: the second word is you, but the first word is not, thankyou! also, those people trying to talk into cans and a string..only works if the person is near you. i tried it recently, and still got”the can you have received, is not in service at this time. the new can number is lipton, b.r.i.s.k.” what do you think?rsvp e mail thanks.

  3. gone-2-the-dogs says:

    Hahahaha! Oh Boy do I agree with you! my dog hears me yelling into the phone at “bot-callers” and her eyes ask, wtf?!
    1. never push the select button not even to choose #1 for English! pretend to have a rotary dial phone. eventually a voice with a brain attached will pick up.
    2. I always take a moment to thank the person who picks up the call: “I”m so glad you are there! I always wait for a real person to answer because Too many jobs are already lost to machines!”
    instead of the machines becoming more user-friendly People are becoming more robotic! at AØL I thought I was talking to a PARROT!
    you wrote:
    “People need jobs, and we need people who can actually respond to our questions, instead of simply repeating programmed responses. Yes, technology has helped us evolve, but are we also dissolving in the process?”
    I think so.
    When the human paid to take calls sounds and acts like a robot, how fun a job is that?
    I remember getting “service with a smile” because “the customer is always right”
    Now calling customer service means being pinned to the phone listening to elevator muzic
    at the mercy of someone who acts totally disinterested or in capable { and too often both.
    I think you were right to personalize the call.
    I’ve done that when the person would allow me to. Especially when I have a complaint about the company they work for I try to separate them from it so they don’t take my displeasure personally.
    I think we need to demand to interact with a person instead of a machine. or where does it end?
    A major grocery chain is using (clerk-less) automated checkout stands.
    Wouldn’t life be a lot more fun if we had more interactions with others not fewer?
    In the area where I live there are still stores with clerks who stop to ask, how is your dog?
    I’d rather pay them for my groceries even if it is a few cents more.
    As we lose more and more jobs to corporate greed
    once they are in the stock market it’s no longer about building quality.
    There’s hope in the new model for businesses where the employees have ownership not Wall Street.

  4. Marie Gill says:

    You have captured the essence of every “help” call I have ever made! It’s even worse when you get disconnected after jumping through hoops for 20 minutes! I feel sorry for elderly people who are not at all savvy with using push button phones and half the time cannot hear or understand what is being asked of them and the computer shows no empathy for that!

  5. Debbie says:

    I work on the phones and hear quite a bit of this. Rest assured, the expletives you share while in the voice routing system probably don’t get recorded. And if you don’t get to call my particular call center, (a) I’ve worked here 7 years, (b) I’m partnered, and (c) we do not have children. And I like talking to customers, too!

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