Phone Games of the 21st Century

I recently had reason to call my phone company in order to inquire about some charges that were showing up on my bill. I first reached an automated message that told me to press one for English, which I did, followed by a menu with several options. Of the available options, none involved speaking to an actual human being. This was the type of phone system where you could either press the number of the option you wanted or speak it into the receiver. After hearing all the available options and knowing that not a single solitary one of them would address my issue, I decided to take a gamble. I clearly said “customer service” into the phone and was then told that what I had said did not match any of the available options. I tried it again just in case it was a hidden option and I hadn’t spoken clearly the first time. Sure enough, the automated voice told me I would be transferred to a representative. I heard about 4 seconds of music and then a click. I waited about five minutes before realizing I had been hung up on. I went through this whole process a few more times before finally reaching an actual human being.

The thing that irritates me the most is that many companies who should be offering personalized customer service try their absolute best to avoid having to speak with their customers. I can’t understand whether it’s a lack of employees to field the calls or that they just assume that I am too lazy to use the automated menu if, say…I only want to find out how much my bill is. I’m sure there is more than a few people out there who would want to talk to a human being even though they can get the information they need without doing so, but what about people like me who legitimately needed some real help? What really takes the cake is that this is a phone company, and one who can’t or doesn’t want to update their phone system to handle customer’s calls. I wish there were an organization dedicated to rating these businesses’ customer service policies so that they might get some idea of just how poor they are doing in relation to their competition. If there were, I would switch and give my business to the company who offered the best customer service, even if it cost more to do so.