Monday, May 22, 2006

Phone hell 

There's a company called Gethuman.com which is developing a new database to help us speak to an actual human being when we phone a company which which we want to do business.
Give them a medal, somebody, please.
The phone answer system which is now at the top of my own shitlist is Aeroplan's new "voice response" system -- which they seem to be just sooooo pleased to announce.
But it can barely understand Canadian English clearly spoken on a good line -- God knows what someone with an accent or on a scratchy cell line encounters when they try to use this disaster. And after a decade spent learning how to punch numbers into phones, I am not allowed to use any number bypass -- it's speak or nothing!
I just hate calling Aeroplan.
Next on my personal list are all the phone systems which tell me in smooth, duclet tones "Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line...." to which I always snarl "If my call was so goddamn important to you, you'd ANSWER IT!"
Gethuman has some advice for navigating automated phone systems to reach a person:
-Interrupt: Press 0, 0#, #0, 0* or *0 repeatedly, sometimes quickly. Some systems connect to humans after invalid entries. Others will disconnect.
-Talk: Say 'get human,' 'agent' or 'representative.' You can also try mumbling incoherently. The computer might connect you out of confusion.
-Hold: Say nothing and pretend you have an old rotary phone.
-Jump queue: Ask for account collections or sales, which are usually answered quickly. Then ask to be transferred to the department you need. Sometimes this works, but occasionally a call is put at end of queue.

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