Monday, December 22, 2008

Press One for Moron?

Our phone stopped working last week. At first I thought it was the result of my having left the cordless outside in the rain for about the 246th time, but no, it was not only the cordless phones but the landline phone as well. I discovered this the day before we left for Disney, so when I called on Friday and was told they'd have someone out to check it by Wednesday, I was less upset than I would normally have been. I figured we'd be gone anyway, so who cares?

We came home on Thursday to discover that the phones still did not work, but there was a helpful note from the AT&T guy saying that he'd fixed the problem. Today I finally got around to calling AT&T back to let them know that we still have no dial tone.

I miss the good old days when automated technology could be outsmarted by merely pretending you were on a dial phone. If you didn't press anything when prompted, it assumed you couldn't press, so you got an agent. Then someone had to go and invent that Stepford Wives voice that asks you to "press or say." There doesn't seem to be an exception for a mute with no hands, so I have no choice but to speak.

Here is some of the conversation that took place between me and AT&T's automated-customer-service-agents-from-hell. (My part of the conversation will be italicized . . . because I'm more important.)

Thank you for calling AT&T's customer service line. To proceed in English, say "English" or press 1.
I'm sorry, I didn't not understand you. To proceed in English . . .
Okay, please choose from one of the following options . . .
Problem with my line (wasn't an option)
You have a problem with your phone connection. Is this correct?
[After playing 20 questions about my phone problem, the automated voice (I'll call her Jane because I don't think the word I would really use is appropriate for this blog) informs me that if the problem is with my line only, I will have to pay an $85 service fee when the technician comes to fix it. Fed up with this process, since I already went through it a week ago, I began shouting, "Speak to a representative!")

You'd like to speak to a customer service representative? Is that correct?
Yes! Yes!
[Minutes pass before Jane returns]
You have successfully reported your problem to AT&T. A technician will call you . . .
No, I want to speak to a person.

At this point I get disconnected and have to call back. I now refuse to say anything except, "I want to speak to a representative." I still can't get out of automation hell, so I expound on my request a little.
"I'm having a little trouble understanding you."
"I can't imagine why, Jane. Your digital vocabulary doesn't include expletives?!"

Eventually, I'm told I'm being transferred to a real live person, and I hear, "Please have the last four digits of your social security number on hand to ensure that we are speaking to a responsible party."
Responsible party? Have they heard ANY of the words I've been using the past 8 minutes?
(This was actually only a thought.)
Finally, I reach a person. A real human being. He begins with "This is accounts receivable, my name is Innocent Person Who is Not Responsible for the Hell You've Just Endured, so Please Stop Yelling at Me."
Accounts receivable? I need a service tech!
Customer service?
Is there another kind?
Do you need help with your account?
No, I need help with my phone line.
Well, then you need repair.
Do. No. Disconnect. Me.
Don't worry, I'll stay on the line.

A minute passes, and I hear Jane again! The jerk did not stay on the line.

Why do I never get those annoying customer service surveys at the end of calls like that?

If you need us, you'll have to try our cells. Our home phone still doesn't work. But, they're going to have someone here by February.


CM and JM said...

Ha, that does explain why I didn't get an answer when I called your house today, not that I call it often at all, but I did today!!

Michelle said...

ROTFLMAO Becky, sorry. I always try to press -0-, because, I always thought that was the way to get to a live person. Nope, can't even do that anymore. I dispise those automated things as well. I sympathize(as i laugh). :-)

Theresa Garcia said...

Here's a helpful hint. If you continuously zero, pound, and the star button, you will be connected to a real person. This works with most companies.