Monday, March 07, 2005

Phone trees...

There exists a necessary evil in our society that you experience any time you call for service on just about anything. From issues as diverse as questions about your cell phone plan to changing your primary care provider, when you call customer service, you NEVER get to speak to a person right away. We all know this and most of us have just grown to accept the reality of the situation. There is something new coming in this space that I absolutely cannot stand though!

The current generation of phone trees that are voice driven are a step in the wrong direction. They are offered as a high-tech, friendly new way to interface with the system (as if we were too lazy in our society to even push the button now), but the technology is just not there yet. My single largest frustration is that they pick up on too much of the background noise. I tried to call our cell phone provider the other day while my wife was driving with a car full of kids - that was a joke! It kept telling me, "OK, I can help you..." even when I started telling it, "Apparently not!"

What they really need to do is build in an ability to detect when users get to the point that they are yelling, "WOULD EVERYONE SHUT UP SO THAT I CAN GET SOME #$&^*! HELP?" and transfer you straight to a person - now that would be useful!

I know that phone trees aren't going to go away, but they need to be carefully designed. I swear that Cingular employees have never called their own customer service - if they had, surely they would revise that menu!


jonny ragel said...

it's especially irritating when the same company calls you weekly at dinner trying to upgrade your services. or you wait for a half hour crawling on all fours through an arduous process of ear torture and the person you finally talk to can't really help you. 'ummm. I don't have the jurisdiction to do that. you'll have to write a letter to our directors'. AT&T. I hate thee.

Brian said...

Agreed! All hail the advent of caller ID so that we can effectively screen calls during dinner! We're to the point in our home where if we don't recognize the number, you'll speak to our answering machine first!