Your call is important to us (tee hee)

If there’s one thing I hate to hear, it’s an automated voice at the other end of the phone assuring me how much I matter to her … then telling me to choose one of the next nine menu options so she can figure out how to “redirect my call.” I’ve written a spoof entitled “The Automated Lady” which I present at my readings, and I’ve found I am sure not alone on this. The “automated lady” is one lady we all love to hate!

There is no way to retaliate against her sugary-sweet reminder that her menu options have changed so I should listen carefully (instead of pounding zero like I’m doing.) How can I respond to a melodically mechanized voice that tells me she “doesn’t recognize” my response, after I have been hollering “Accounts, please” for a full minute?  And why am I even saying “please” to an automated lady!? To release my frustration, I have taken scribbling on pictures of automated ladies. It is therapeutic. I highly recommend it.  

Now if I could just find therapies for some of the other things in life that bug me. Like e-mail. I actually like e-mail, and find it an efficient way to keep in touch. However, the other day I fired up my laptop, and it commenced to download 960 – that’s right, nine hundred and sixty! – e-mails. All were duplicates of e-mails I have previously received, which I assume some rascal out in cyberspace decided to dump down in one clump in order to brighten my day.

Sorting this out will require – you guessed it – a phone call to tech support, necessitating another run in with some automated lady! Aggghh. Even if I manage to clear her various hurdles and get through to an actual tech specialist, in my experience said “techie” is often unable to resolve my problems. Then comes the dreaded question: “May I put you on hold for a minute?” Off he (or she) prances to confer with a supervisor (or share in the office pizza which I suspect was just delivered).

Meanwhile I languish listening to Barry Manilow singing “Mandy,” punctuated by messages thanking me for my patience. My PATIENCE?  Little does he know …

How do you cope with “automated ladies,” and the like?

© Judith Millar 2009. All rights reserved.

Good news!  The nominees have been announced, and MillarLITE is in the running for the best humour blog in Canada!  If you enjoy MillarLITE, your vote can help move it into the finals. Voting is easy. Go here to find MillarLITE in the list of “Humour” blogs. Click the tab to its right, and rank MillarLITE 1st. Click “vote” at the bottom of the screen, and click to confirm. THANK YOU! 

If you have any “clicks” left in you, MillarLITE is also nominated in the best “New” blog category … and four individual posts have been nominated in best “Blog Post” category. You can find all categories – including Humour – listed here.)  First round voting is allowed until Dec. 12, and a blog needs lots of support to win, so please vote early and often!!  Take a look around the categories, and you’ll discover some other great blogs too!  I’m a Quick Brown Fox fan myself (to vote for QBF, go to “Culture and Literary“).

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3 Responses to “Your call is important to us (tee hee)”

  1. joannamallory Says:

    I usually blurt “customer service representative” as soon as they start. Sometimes I then follow with “live human being… someone… help…” until I randomly hit some sort of cue.

    Have you heard the newsboys’ song, “My Friend Jesus”? It’s about help-line angst and the temptations to erupt. It’s catchy enough that now it runs in my mind while I’m on hold or dealing with automated people and it reminds me to smile.

    I’d be afraid to try “service in French” in case I did reach a live person. Although… then that person would be in the same situation I sometimes am with a live person who’s not too fluent in my language…

  2. staratorba Says:

    Yes, they get up my nose as well!
    I have several strategies, depending on my mood and the importance of the call.
    Sometimes, I just do nothing and some automated systems will then put me through to a live person recognising that I must be an individual who finds any technology, however simple, a bit of a challenge (I’m not!).
    Other times, when I hear that ‘this call will be recorded for training purposes’ I immediately say that I’m very pleased about that because I’m phoning to complain etc.
    Then again, I might just snooze off while listening to the music and offer apologies to the operator who wakes me.

    A useful trick I’ve learned is to choose the option for customers who want to change or end their contract – this part of the organisation is often staffed better and responds to calls faster than the customer services department that you really want. They will then transfer your call if unable to help.

    The worst thing is the unsolicited automated call informing of a win in a prize draw – I usually let this type of call go through to the end to make sure that the cost is maximised. But, the down side is having to listen to the rubbish they spout in case they play any dirty tricks and I end up paying for a follow-on call or something.

    • Judith Millar Says:

      Thanks for the tips, Krysia! One fellow I know presses that he wants “service in French.” He maintains those operators get fewer callers, and are often real live people who will patch you through quickly. Whatever works!

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