Saturday, August 09, 2008

Customer Service

The following is a true story, although I've had to recreate the dialogue since at the time it was happening I didn't realize I had to memorize it for archival purposes.

I have a rather inexpensive cell phone account with a minimal number of "peak" minutes: 300. Usually this is plenty for me. I'm not much of a phone person.

However, my July bill was more than double its usual amount because, due to making family plans and a long talk with a boss, I ran over about 45 minutes and was charged about $40 for them. Ouch. (And I am making some plans to leave my current service, but right now I have no time to breathe...)

Anyway, since then I've been in the habit of calling at off-peak hours to confirm the number of minutes used. With my carrier, that involves calling 611. Here's how it went this morning:

Mechanical phone voice: Thank you for calling Your Phone Service. For balance due, payment options, or minutes of use, press or say "1."

Me: 1

Mechanical phone voice: Following this call, we'd like to ask you six questions about your customer service experience. To take the survey, press or say "1." To decline, "2."

Me (not in a mood to be surveyed): 2

Mechanical phone voice: I'm sorry, but I didn't understand your answer. To take the survey, press or say "1." To decline, "2."

Me (louder): 2!

Mechanical phone voice: I'm sorry, but I still didn't understand your answer. Please hold for the next available operator. (The sound of ringing.)

Whereupon I decided I didn't need to know my minutes used all that desperately and hung up.


kkryno said...

What a joke! Do companies really think that automated "assistance" constitutes customer service? Fail once again. It seems like often there's not even an option for my particular dilema. Oh, for the days when you could walk into a location and ask a real, flesh and blood, respirating individual for help.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of the typical voting experience using Diebold machines...

Voter: *makes selection*

Machine: You have selected George W. Bush for president. Press 1 to edit, press 2 to confirm.

Voter: Zuh? That's not who I picked! *presses 1*

Machine: You have confirmed your selection of George W. Bush for president. Press 1 to edit, press 2 to complete voting.

Voter: WTF?? *presses 1*

Machine: Thank you for choosing George W. Bush for president. Voting completed.

Voter: Arrgh!

Bitty said...

Phil, that's not funny.

It's not (laughing through the tears).