Customer Service waiting

Why does the translator always pop up and offer to translate my Spam? Isn’t there some way to make that go away and never come back?

When I get put on hold, they always tell me how important I am to them, often just before they disconnect me or start playing the most annoying music ever to assault the ears of humankind:

  1. If I’m that important, hire a person to answer the phone.
  2. Is there a special place everyone goes to buy really annoying music so you can not only be on hold for hours, but listen to the same orchestral rendition of Something From the 70s over and over and over?

You call customer service. They ask for your account number, phone number, social security number, date of birth, home address. When — if — someone comes on the line, they will ask for the same information again. All of it.


You will be required to listen to a menu from which you must select your “problem” because “our menu items have recently changed” even though you’ve been working with this company for years and the menu has never changed. You cannot skip ahead to the menu selection you know you need.

The menu goes on forever. All the choices are apparently irrelevant. By number 7, you have no idea what the first six choices were and anyhow, you need to talk to someone. If — in desperation — you are fool enough to select from the list, you will get a robot that will send you back to the same menu.

If you press none of the selections and just wait, you may get a live person. Or disconnected. It’s a crap shoot.

Whoever you get will tell you it’s not their department. The department to which they direct you will tell you to go to the place that just sent you to them. If you point that out, they will disconnect you by “accident.”

Every company records every conversation “for quality assurance purposes” (and if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you), but the call during which they promised to fix your problem/refund your money was (oddly enough) not recorded. Nor did the person with whom you spent an hour on the phone add that all important note to your file.

Death cust serv

If you remember to get the name and some kind of ID of the person you are talking to, he or she will not exist when you call back.

No one has a number you can call back. Ever.

Is it just me? Or is there an international conspiracy to make us simply give up and live with whatever crap they throw at us?

Categories: Customer Service, Humor, Life, Reality

Tags: , , , , , , ,

26 replies

  1. I hate the phone call that is a recording asking you to ‘hold, someone will be right with you’! For Pete’s sake, you are calling me! Why should I wait for you to come on the line? DUH? On a different note, Jim is so funny about the ‘conversation will be recorded’ bit. Whenever, he makes a call and a representative gets on the line HE says ‘For privacy purposes, this phone conversation is being recorded!’ Silence. The person on the other end does not know how to reply because all he or she has is a scripted conversation. ๐Ÿ˜†


  2. One thing that does work, as strange as it sounds, is to hit “billing’ if and when it comes up on the list. Few places leave billing unstaffed, and you can sorta undetstand why. But when you get there, be all apologetic and say, oh my goodness I wanted X and nine times out of ten they will patch you through or at least give you a number or extension that works.
    What really annoys, sometimes they will play fairly funky music that you can get into, but every thirty seconds the gooey voice comes in and thanks you for waiting, please hold, all that. Id rather wait with my music (and yes the book) please…


  3. I wonder what part of automated is considered customer service? I want a real person STAT.


  4. I usually hit “0” or request Operator if it’s a voice-activated system. I tend to get to an actual human faster that way.


    • Some of the systems have gotten wise to that and you get a message saying “That’s not a valid option” and it either disconnects you or sends you back to the original menu. They are very sneaky and determined you NEVER talk to a real person.


      • Yep, I agree. That’s why I usually have a book handy while I’m waiting.


      • I have a persistent image about companies that hide themselves away from their customers: they are now so automated that there are only four people in the entire company, and they are all in one room, one large, empty room that used to hold dozens of people using phones, computers, fax machines. The floor is polished, the walls are bare, and the lovely floor to celiing windows gleam. Sunlight pours in from the outside, highlighting the shadows and the bare floor.

        All the lights on the desk phones are flashing, and now and then one of the workers looks up, pushes a button, and goes back to his or her book, knitting, or computer game. The one who drew the short straw that morning is the dedicated Answerer for the day. At 5 PM the automated system unlocks the room door with a click, and the four workers get up and leave. The door locks behind them. =)


  5. Funny but too true.


  6. No it’s not just you. Very annoying. I could write a book about all the crap I have gone through with automated phone systems. And now, I receive telemarketing calls which are not even live people. I keep getting one that says, “Hello, please hold while I transfer your call.”
    I. Don’t. Think. So.


    • Do you think anyone does hold and if so, I hope I don’t know them. Just wondering. Everyone I know hangs up at word 1 or 2 (or even sooner if caller ID warns us in time) … do they really thing we are going to wait for a recorded message? Are we really that dumb?


  7. I once spent a period of weeks trying to get a discrepancy on my passport sorted out. Every time I phoned they gave me the same incorrect information. Well, OK, it’s not like a passport is important or anything is it?
    On a phone call to Dell I had to give my service tag to so many different people I had it memorised by the end of the call.


    • Ah yes, Dell. I used to have my service tag memorized too, same reason! When they finally get to it, they can be good but before you get to that point …. whole weeks pass in tech support hell!


  8. To me phone trees and automated answering services are the worst invention ever. My Veterans Medical Clinic phone number is so useless that my pharmacy, who usually calls your doctor for new refills, refuses to cal the VA. The wait times have you on hold for an hour. I would rather talk to a live, breathing, human being without an accent from India, who can answer simple questions.


  9. You obviously *know* it’s not just you! I would add another little element to the foregoing fun: when *they* (“customer service”) call *you*, thus saving you the ignominy of having to desire help in the first place by foisting it on you–like my delightful checkup from the credit card fraud division when they called this afternoon to inform me that my card had been involved in some “suspicious activity”. Which, to be sure, it had, but that was simply that the automation of the local gas pump failed to operate on my first two efforts, sending me unwillingly to the inside cashier, who then made a third (successful) attempt to charge the gasoline on my card and, of course, having had to estimate the amount, required me to return to the kiosk once more to run a refund through the system. So when I got home from that fun outing, I got to check my voicemail (using another automated system that often likes to kick me out before the transaction is complete), call Customer Service, Fraud Division, wait on hold for a bit, talk to a representative who, though polite enough to apologize numerous times for taking my precious time to straighten out that no fraud had occurred, spent a long time apologizing, thus taking *more* of my precious time to clarify that no fraud had occurred. This is how technology simplifies our lives. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • Yes. I’ve had them call me, but actually, it was fraud. And it saved me a lot of aggravation and possibly money. But usually, it’s just that you are on vacation and in a different town and they notice.

      Like how much easier life is with a cell phone (NOT) because you can’t escape and you also can’t hear anything as the phones are designed for everything BUT voice communication ๐Ÿ™‚ I just spent several HOURS on the phone with Adobe tech support … and have spent the past 24 hours in computer hell. It’s not over yet. Little did I know when I wrote this I was jinxing myself!


%d bloggers like this: