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Press "1" to Speak to a Human Being

We've all dealt with frustrating phone systems when we're trying to accomplish something with a bank, large corporation, customer service issue, and more.  A few days ago, I was dismayed to realize that dialing "0" even got me into a series of options, one of which was to dial "0" again to speak to an operator.  I am not making this up.

My wife was trying to transfer some funds today from a bank in another city.  It was like pulling teeth, only less pleasant.  It was much like speaking to someone who was trapped in a concrete box with earplugs in, maybe?  I don't think I've ever heard her get that loud on the phone when repeating herself.

It made me think of a few choice options that should probably be added to corporate phone systems worldwide:

  • Press "0" to speak to someone with a higher IQ than the person you're currently speaking with.

  • Press "1" to speak to an operator who is not hearing-impaired.

  • Press "2" to apply a mild electric shock to the operator.  A nominal fee will apply.

  • Press "3" to apply a severe....well, you get the picture on this one.

On a serious note, I really wish that the people who design these phone menus were forced to use them and test them frequently, as I think that would cut down on a large part of the problem.

Here's another pet peeve while we're on the topic - I don't like the ones that make me spell the person's name to speak with them.  I'm a good speller, but I seem to have a knack for getting this option when I don't even know the person's last name, and this is the requirement.  In other words, if I need to reach Sherry _______ at the title company, it's asking me to spell her LAST name.  Dang it.

One company that I've called a handful of times (they shall remain nameless here, since it might deserve a post of its own) has one of the worst phone experiences around.  You get one person on the phone, explain fully what your issue is, then they try half-heartedly to help before transferring to a specialist.  Upon reaching the second person, you must RE-EXPLAIN EVERYTHING again, since they can't access the notes of the first operator.  Ugh.

I'm sure that companies pay big bucks for these labyrinthine systems.  I think I might develop a program to navigate these menus on my behalf, perhaps with an "auto-escalate" feature, since it seems like the most common outcome ("Can I speak to your supervisor?"). 

Thanks for reading my semi-rant.


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