Rabbits are third in the world (behind dogs and cats) for most popular pet. In the UK, rabbits are so popular that they have devoted charities and websites to support education on habits and care, products to purchase, and ways for remembrance.
On one such site, I found the following comment in the remembrance section: “I don’t know how I would have coped without your support line…the voice at the end of the help line never let me down.”
The concept of a real voice at the end of a help line was a strange and wonderful concept. In the US, we seem to be moving toward an increased number of automated support lines. These are in all types of businesses, too, so if you need information, technical advice, or just a simple question answered, you may have to use the “efficient, helpful automated service.”
I’ve found this type of answering service in various services including my cable company, bank, retirement system, health insurance, furnace repair company, and physician’s office. I am convinced that they are efficient and effective from the provider’s point of view.
From a customer’s perspective, however, the service is neither efficient nor effective. In fact, it’s downright frustrating.
First, the automated voice tells you that you have, in fact, reached the company you called (the only help you’re likely to receive, if I may be so bold, is to be told you have reached the number you dialed.). Then it tells you if you know your party’s extension, you can press the extension now. Then begins the real agony – the “menu.”
For accounts payable, press 1. For equipment or service, press 2. For balance inquiries, press 3. For appointments, press 4. For time of day, press 5 – and so on.
Usually if you stay on the line long enough, you get the choice to “hold for a representative” or “press 10 for a representative.” Many of us don’t have the patience to listen to the entire menu to get that representative, who we hope and pray is a live person. But patience is rewarded and finally you can get to that phase.
Or so you think. When you get to the “representative” section, you have to be ready. Often you have to press or speak your account number into the phone. You have to repeat your name. Your address. Your telephone number. And you have to press to confirm each time the automated voice repeats it back to you. Woe betide you if the voice thinks you said “five” when you said “nine.” You’ll have to start all over.
But if you persevere, you finally get a real, live person. (Well, after you are on hold for a while.) If you’re lucky, the person speaks the same language you do. Rarely are they in your locale, or even the state of Ohio, but it’s a real voice attached to a real person, so it’s time to celebrate.
And then you can ask your question. “Are you open on Mondays?”
Thanks for the support. Maybe I’ll get a rabbit.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.