I have heard the voice of evil. It told me to press 2 for customer service.
Then I waited for 20 minutes, gave my pertinent customer information, and was put on hold while I was transferred to another customer service representative who could specifically address my issue. Then I was on hold for another 15 minutes, then gave my information to another person, who spoke to me for 35 seconds, and transferred me again. You know the drill.
Two hours later, I had spoken to seven wooden customer service reps for all of four minutes, and my issue had yet to be resolved. The rest of the time I spent on hold.
Listening to the worst of Yanni for nearly two hours gives you time to think – about life, about time, about how you are wasting your time, about Godzilla, about what’s the best kind of semi-automatic weapon, about the world and its issues, and how to solve them.
Five years ago, 10 years ago, when you called a business or company, even a large one, the first person to answer the phone was actually a person, a human being, most likely a competent woman. This lady, sometimes called a receptionist, would listen to your concern, and promptly steer you in a helpful direction. Your issue was usually resolved in mere minutes.
Those days are long gone, and that person’s job is extinct. If you own a business or company with over five employees now, thanks to Obamacare, you are legally mandated to utilize an automated phone answering system rather than hire a receptionist.
Let’s see how that has worked out for us.
Since “the man” decided to have a machine answer the switchboard rather than Ernestine:
• The economy has gone in the tank.
• Gas prices have risen.
• Unemployment has sky-rocketed.
• The U.S. is trillions of dollars in debt.
• A bad hurricane hit Haiti.
• Jerry Reed died.
• Georgia lost to Alabama in the SEC championship game.
• And now, our country’s about to dive off a fiscal cliff, which, as I pointed out in this space last week, is different from a physical cliff. Diving off a physical cliff is much worse, unless there’s a huge trampoline at the bottom of it. In that case, it may not be so bad.
My point is this: Ever since our collective business community decided to oust the receptionist in favor of a machine that does little of substance but infuriate customers, bad things have happened, especially to our economy, and Jerry Reed.
I understand this move was made in an effort to save money. Fine. How much does a receptionist cost? Has your cable bill gone down since they decided to get rid of all receptionists? Have any of your bills in the last decade lowered due to automated answering systems? Where’s the savings to me, the customer? Or you, the customer? Or Jerry Reed, God bless his soul.
And the poor receptionists – millions of them around the world. They are now unemployed. And we wonder why our economy is in a freefall. You want to save the economy, Congress? Bring back the receptionists! Pass a law (yeah, right) banning automated answering systems. The results will include millions of people rejoining the workforce, improved customer satisfaction, a larger tax base, more spending power for consumers, peace in the Middle East, a healthier complexion, and no more hurricanes.
Unfortunately, it’s too late for Jerry Reed, but not too late to save our world. Bring back the receptionists – pretty please with sugar on top. It’s our only path to stopping the forces of evil.
© Len Robbins 2012