Where Have All the Humans Gone?

I’d take Ernestine any time over these dang automated menus I have to deal with. I want to talk to real people!

All I really wanted to do was talk to a real live human being.  I just had questions.

Does anyone actually like the automated menus that most companies have gone to that supposedly help improve the customer experience?  I find that whenever I call one of these places, I never need any of the choices they have on their menu.  We have our mortgage through a major lender, and I have only had to call for things that the menu lady doesn’t recognize, so called “normal stuff”.  For example, I never need to check my balance when I call, because I have the internet to do that.  The last couple of times I have called, it has been about an overpayment.

The menu lady doesn’t understand that word, and there really wasn’t anything on the menu that really matched what I needed.  Anything about payments just was her reciting my balance and last payment received.  She kept telling me they needed more information to help me.  Like most calls with automated menus, I found my voice rising and almost yelling at the robotic lady voice.  “OVERPAYMENT!  CUSTOMER SERVICE (she didn’t understand that either)! NO!  YES!  SPEAK TO REPRESENTATIVE (nor did she understand that)!  I forget how I finally got to talk to a human, but it took a really long time to reach her.  I’m not really convinced the person I spoke to was a real human, because after all of that they still messed it up.  I waited almost a month for a check to arrive.  It didn’t.  So I had to call back AGAIN and go through the same thing to find out that all they did was apply my overpayment to my principle.  If I wanted anything else done, like making a smaller payment the next time, I  would have to call back yet again!  This was already messing with the little bit of sanity that I have that’s on shaky terms.

I have to deal with this pretty much any time I call, well, anywhere.  The student loan company is the worst.  I’m sorry, I don’t want to use your website.  I want people to help me, not a calculator.  My cell phone company website doesn’t work half the time.  For some reason I end up viewing a blank page more often than not.  If there’s a problem, I’d almost rather drive to town and ask at their store.

Adding to my frustration is the current state of my cell phone.  The phone still works, except the part you talk into.  I can hear the person on the other end, but they can’t hear me.  After some careful research, I did discover that it was usable on speakerphone.  Not exactly convenient when you are a Mom, and the kids are programmed to start making terrible noise/scream/talk to you/run out the door into the cornfield when you are on the phone (all of those things have actually happened to me, except that she didn’t make it into the cornfield).  I can’t use the landline phone because the only one we still have is a dinosaur phone that roars when it rings and is terribly uncomfortable to use, and every town is long distance from where we live.  I hope to some day be able to afford to get the phone fixed.

What would they think if Moms had an automated menu?  “Thank you for having me as your Mom.  If this is a life threatening emergency, please press 1.  For all other situations, please press 2.”  “Welcome to the Mom menu.  Please listen closely as my options have changed.  For food situations, press 1.  For sibling altercations, press 2.  For general complaints, press 3.  For tattling and all other situations, please remain on the line and your request will be processed in the order received.”  For those “other situations”, there will be the same elevator music over and over with “Your request is important to me.  Thank you for being a valuable child.  I am currently experiencing an unusually high volume of requests.  You can also visit my website at http://www.mom.com.”

If nothing else, it might buy me some time in the shower or the bathroom.  I’ll definitely have to look into it…