‘Can’t a person just get a human being?’
Now where have we heard that before? It has probably appeared in this space before, after an attempt to phone the financial institution across the street.
You would think (but you’d be wrong) that it would be a simple enough thing for somebody to pick up the phone and answer a question or two. But no, they’ve got it set up so your call goes through to some hub god knows where, staffed by robots masquerading as human beings. If you ever do manage to find an actual human being, and complain about the impersonality of such a system, you will be told it is done entirely for the benefit of you, the customer, to serve you better.
Like hell it is.
Such systems are put in place because they save the corporation (or government) money. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but it can be maddening as hell.
But hey, robots are taking over, as already noted in an earlier editorial. And in the above example, you can easily enough cut through the obfuscatory crap by walking across the street and presenting yourself at said financial institution in person. That might work.
Of course you can’t do that when your Internet connection isn’t working and you try to get your service provider on the horn. Good luck with that. In fact exactly that was happening in the good old Leader office recently. The relatively mild expressions of exasperation, such as the one that started this column eventually descended into: ‘This is ridiculous!’ and eventually, ‘$#@! I hate *****!’
Meanwhile, everyone who can solve such technical problems is already fully employed and working for those with the bigger budgets. The small guy, as always, gets the short end of the stick.
You would think (here we go again) that there would be a nice small business opportunity for somebody local with technical troubleshooting smarts who actually answers his or her telephone to respond to such difficulties when calls to the big corporations end up in nothing but frustrating merry-go-round sessions with call centre robots.
But what do we know. Maybe things are working as well as they can, given the realties, whatever those are.
Come to think of it, that’s what the nabobs of health care tell us. We’re doing the best we can, under the circumstances. That eight-hour wait to see somebody at the clinic is a rare and unfortunate experience, due to staffing shortages. Please call our complaint line if it happens again. There’s a polite robot waiting to listen to you.
Things could always be worse. We could be an ethnic or religious minority being driven out of our homeland by nasty people with guns.