I am sure that most if not all of you at some time or other, have had a phone conversation with a customer service representative, and came away with mixed emotions. This of course would have been when you could still speak with a real person instead of a machine. Now we get to listen to endless lists of options after which you either push a button or make a verbal response, which normally results in another list of options. However, if you are persistent, you may ultimately be transferred to a real person, frequently in another country. Having reached this milestone however, is no guarantee of success.
I have talked to some of these people and wondered if it was worth the wait. I recently was on the phone with a rep at an insurance company. He, fortunately, was here in the states, but definitely not in Maine. When he asked for my address, and I gave my street number as 2, he replied “I’ve never had a number that low before. You must have very short streets up there”. Um, no, we just figured we had to start somewhere and 2 sounded reasonable.
And then there is something called a “live chat” where you correspond via texting. I recently tried one of those with the local cable company. In part, it went something like this.
Me: “Can you tell me how much it is to lease a VCR and if I need any special equipment”?
Them: “Thank you for contacting XYZ cable. How may I help you”?
Me: “You could answer my question”.
Them: “Yes sir. But first I need a little information. Are you currently a customer”?
Me: “Yes, I am”
Them: “Please provide me with your address and zip code”
Me: Is all this necessary to answer my question”?
Them: “I am trying to pull up your account sir”
Me: I typed in my address and zip
Them: “I have it here. Now, you are interested in adding whole house DVR to your account. Is that correct”?
Me: No, I just want to inquire about the cost of adding a DVR to one TV set”.
Them: Did you know that for just a few dollars more,you can have whole house DVR and enjoy any recorded show from any room in the house?”
Me: I don’t care about whole house. I just want to know how much it costs to lease a DVR. Can you tell me that”?
Them: You will need to return your set top box and exchange it for a DVR. It would appear that the nearest office is in Windham. Would you like me to set that up for you”?
Well, you get the idea. Oddly enough, the next message I got told me my chat had been inadvertently interrupted and to please stand by as they tried to re-establish contact. I thought that funny as I didn’t think we had ever made any.
Originally published July 2013