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Can I please talk to a person?

September 29, 2014
Shepherdstown Chronicle

There is nearly nothing worse than dialing the phone and being "greeted" by a computerized voice. More and more companies are doing away with the human touch and designing a "helpful" system to get you where you want to go faster.

I say these things dripping with sarcasm and frustration as the computerized system saves no one time, at least no one who is attempting to call in to a location.

More and more the first instruction is to press '1' for English. Excuse me, we are in the United States, our language is still English. The choice to push should be for a foreign language if at all. Then I love the "If you know the extension of the party you are trying to reach, press it at any time." If I knew who I needed to talk to, I normally would call that person directly.

Of course there is the useless entering of one's phone number, especially with companies where you have an account (ie Comcast for example) so that the computer can link your call with your account. That would be fine if it worked; however, once you click your way through multiple recordings and finally might get a human, you have to give your phone number so they can verify it's you. Well, that would be the same phone number I had to enter just to get to you....

There are many large companies who use this automated system supposedly to help streamline the caller to the correct department. But, there seem to be more and more smaller entities going the same route. I was astounded to call the County Commission office the other day to ask a question and was greeted with, rather than Jessica's pleasant voice, a computer telling me to listen to my options.

While the implication is that these automated systems save time and allow one to reach their destination more quickly and efficiently, I beg to differ. There is nothing like reaching a real, live person, especially one with a pleasant voice who sounds like they really want to assist you! The only thing the automated saves is money for the company using it so that they can potentially do away with one more job-the one that endears them to their client or consumer. What a shame that technology, although a huge benefit in many ways, eliminates the need for the human touch and causes frustration for those who are forced to use it against their will. Perhaps one day we will learn that lesson; but, not in the foreseeable future I am afraid.

 
 
 

 

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