Flowers remind me of a peaceful existence. They are at one with nature. I drew a little abstract flower this week to remind myself what peace there is all around us if we only notice.
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” King James Bible, Matthew 6:28-29
I needed the reminder because I spent the better part of an hour and a half yesterday on the phone. It wasn't productive phone time. It was a useless interaction with several automated attendants that caused my blood to boil.
I'm sure this is nothing new to you. Each of us has, at one time or another, submitted ourselves to the ignominy of the automated phone attendant.
Your Call Is Important To Us
Whenever I hear, "Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line, and your call will be answered in the order it was received." I picture myself being put in the hopper of a meat grinder until I come out the other end as the mushy remnants of what I used to be - a strong, confident soul. I know, without a doubt, that my call is NOT important to them and that I have become sausage.
I'm a number in a queue. I've become a statistic in a clickity-clack number-crunching system that depends on my compliance. As Pink Floyd would have said "Another Brick In The Wall."
Please Listen Carefully
Who's kidding whom, when they say, "Please listen carefully to the menu because our options have changed." Bullshit, your options haven't changed since Galileo was jailed for telling people the earth was round and rotated around the sun.
So, why are they lying to me? Oh yeah, they don't want me to hit zero to get to an operator/a helper/a real person. That would cost them money.
Please Anwer A Few Questions
There is the point at which they pile insult onto injury. After prompting me to enter my account information, my security pin, the name of my first pet, my mother's maiden name, a bottle of scotch, and the color of the underwear I'm sporting today, they have the gall to ask for the information again when I get on the phone with a representative. It's like the first interaction never took place.
The Next Available Professional
Companies say they're using an automated attendant to better route your call to the next "professional" who can best serve their bottom line, oops. I mean to serve you. What they're saying is, "To better serve you, please tell us how we can help:
I Apologize For Your Wait
If you finally get the "next professional" on the line, they've been trained to defuse your irritation and their disinterest with feigned minion-like profuse apologies for your wait, though it was probably because they relieved themselves in the bathroom while you were waiting. The representative answers with such self-effacing kowtowing that's just embarrassing enough to assuage your anger. You might even feel like apologizing for putting them in the unenviable position of lying prostrate at your feet. Me I'd rather kick 'em.
The Service Cost Center
Your call is NOT important to them. Your call has become a disturbance; it has become a bother, a nuisance, your request is now a line item in an income statement to show investors how efficient they are. Most companies count customer support as a cost to be slashed rather than a service that can be provided to bolster loyalty.
Unusually High Call Volume
"Unusually high call volume," my ass. Okay, when you're experiencing unusually high call volume every day for three and a half weeks in a row, can we still call it unusual?
It's time to start calling it what it is: bad management, ignorance, and disinterest.
Proper Customer Support
A long time ago I worked in customer support, on the telephone for eight hours a day, for the better part of five years. I learned a bit about customer service during that time. I learned about talk-time and ASA (Average Speed of Answer).
It was crucial we took each customer request seriously, and to make sure we answered each call quickly and to the best of our ability. We were measured on how well we resolved the issue rather than how long we spent on the phone. When ASA went up, we hired more people. When questions went unanswered, there was additional training.
That was proper customer service.
I have concluded, without a doubt, and you can quote me here:
"Automated Attendants are tools of the devil designed to impersonalize, denigrate, create confusion, promote inefficiency, and dash the unsuspecting human heart against the rocky shores of incompetence and disinterest. They allow a company to disguise their apathy and tell the most blatant lies. "
There, I've said it.
I feel much better now.
Until next week, I wish you peace.