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Phone Hell

Phone Hell

February 14th, 2007  · stk

Speaking to a live person at a company is extremely difficult in today's world. A typical start to a typically poor customer service inquiry with a Canadian credit card company is examined

Customer Service: A Way-off Broadway Production

Scene 1: (Split set) (1) A customer care centre, for a credit card company, somewhere in Ontario, Canada. (2) The office of a valued customer.

The curtain opens with the valued customer being welcomed by a humming, computer driven phone system. (There is only one actual person in the opening scene, which will save the credit card company oodles of money - and also actor fees, when the film rights are purchased).

phone system: "Welcome to RBC's credit card services (again in French), for English, press one, (french press two)."

valued customer: *presses one*

phone system: "Please choose one of the following five options"

valued customer: *listens to extremely long list of options, none of which seem to apply, so chooses the last one, which is a catch-all*

phone system: "Please enter your 16-digit credit card number, now."

valued customer: *says* ... "Damn, where's my wallet?" :|

valued customer: *says* "hmm ... I have to find my wallet" *hangs up* (exit stage left, sounds of frantic search ensues)

valued customer: (Sound of feet approaching, enters from left stage with wallet which was downstairs)... *picks up phone and calls again*

valued customer: *hears bilinqual greeting, presses 1 for English, 5 for choice and now has card for 16-digit credit card number.*

phone system: "Please enter the last 4 digits of your home telephone number."

valued customer: *Caught off-guard, has to think about this (as he never calls self. has to think hard, he's recently been issued a new telephone number) ... finally remembers ... says "250 722 7654(emphasis on last four) ... punches in last 4*

phone system: "Please choose from the following 6 options."

valued customer: *listening to another long list of options ... punches 5*

phone system: "Please choose from the following two options."

valued customer: *punches 2, after listening to both*

phone system: "Please wait, while I transfer you to an operator. Please have your credit card out and available."

valued customer: *waits*

valued customer: *waits*

Scene 2: Curtains close, while valued customer continues to wait. Split set #1 changes to a small cubicle, in which sits the credit card customer care representative. Curtain opens and valued customer is still waiting.

representative: "Welcome to (hard to understand, spoken very fast and in a french accent), my name is (something said so quickly that audience isn't sure of the name), may I have the sixteen digits of your credit card?

valued customer (to audience): *says* "What? Why?"

valued customer (to representative): says, "I've already punched that in, don't you have it?"

representative (for whom English is a second language): "No sir, it didn't come across. What are the sixteen digits of your credit card, please?

valued customer: *big sigh* ...


The play continues on, examining the wonderful *sarcasm* new world of customer service. Covers such tactics as bailing out of phone hell by punching zero, repeatedly. Also not punching anything (remember rotary phones?). And has fun play with voice-activated menu trees as well ("I'm sorry, I did not understand your request, can you please repeat that?" ... YES!! ... *profanely and as unintelligible as the first time* until automated system recognize the fact that it can't recognize anything that is said and FINALLY takes valued customer to a real person!) Some scenes show valued customer being passed to reprentatives, then promptly receiving an automated message, "I'm sorry *representative name* has stepped away from his desk. To leave a message, press 1." Or, as is common in Canada where all the big companies are located in the east, valued customers getting representatives that are difficult to understand, because English is a second language.

In other words - Getting and speaking with customer service representatives is VERY difficult.

 

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Updated: 14-Feb-2007
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