Musing on telephone robots

RobotTo get good service, you need to have a relationship with people, not the company. The company does not have a conscience. People do. You need to disrupt the system a little, reconnect, stay alert, and stay human.

I hate call systems and queues. An attempted simulacrum of human interaction, complete with friendly casual phrases, run by switches and audio files. Non-standard overrides and controls. ‘Representative’ is not in my vernacular. ‘human’ is, ‘person’ is. I want to speak to a person please. Sometimes ‘0’ will get you a human, and sometimes it’s ‘*’ or ‘#’.

Sometimes keypresses outside of the given choices make the robot operator very slowly and pedantically say “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Please choose from the following options…”. Sometimes it causes the robot operator to hang up, or moved back a level in the process. Most of the time you have to start everything all again.

I realize that call queues and multiple choice filtering is a sensible way to deal with the high volume of calls, and often the subject of calls can be classified easily. Is this about billing? Change of address? Problems on the line? Fine. How about moving the action to the beginning of the sentence, and being less chatty and verbose? And I need to be able to skip the ‘special notice’ if this is a repeat call.

I am not fully comprehending your options. I am not listening to your special notice. I am just getting annoyed. Shush now. Put me through to a human please and I will try not to scream.

My time is important to me, as my money is very important to you.

I wish I found this article on telephone queues and auto-answering earlier.

More than me phoning robots, I hate it when robots phone me. By law, you have to give permission for companies to cold-call you (Why would you even do that???). I had not. Perhaps the person that had my number before somehow had given the world permission. As it’s now MY number, I have the right to withdraw…right?

By law, when a representative of a company, be it human or robot, phones you, they must provide company contact details.

By law, if you have registered with TPS, its illegal for a company to phone you.

If you’ve not given permission, and you’ve registered with TPS, you can report the company that phones you.

The problem is that if they have not provided company and contact details you cannot report them!

I had an incredibly circular conversation with a lady in a call centre who was phoning me on behalf of a company, CallValue. She didn’t have an address or number for CallValue. She also did not have a manager or supervisor. She also could not tell me the address of her company. It was all very odd. And annoying.