Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A New Pet Hate

It's been a while, I know. Nikki's been away, which usually leads to lots of blogging from me as I go slowly mad without her, but this trip I've been so busy that I've had no time to fill with my usual nonsense. No plants have died. No house stuff has needed doing. Nothing has aggravated me enough to send me racing in the general direction of my keyboard. (Actually, one thing has, but that blog post is going to be a multimedia extravaganza that I haven't quite figured out how to prepare or present). Fortunately, just as I started to fear that this blog had gone the way of such previously prolific, but now almost dormant, titans of yesteryear as Fi & Alex and Iain & Vikki, along came two e-mails from different sources, with one common theme...The wonderful unmanned mailbox:

Subject: Demolition
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 17:05:33 +0000

Dear Homeowner:
Our records indicate that we are due to demolish your house tomorrow using lasers from outer space. This demolition will commence at 7am. If your house has been scheduled for demolition by mistake please call the House Demolition Hotline at 1-800-555-5201. Office hours are 8am to 5pm.

Your friends at the space laser company that cares.

Please do not reply to this message via e-mail. This address is automated, unattended, and cannot help with questions or requests.

I have now decided that not having a valid e-mail address that I can reply to is a crime worse than having a call center in Bangalore that I have to spend 45 minutes on hold to only to get through to someone who cannot help me.

When I called AT&T today, (for one of the offending messages was from them) to resolve the same problem I've called them about three times previously, that they have notified me about by e-mail that I could not reply to three times previously, they did exactly what they did the previous three times. The problem is identified in the first two minutes of the phone call. (Well, technically the first 32 minutes of the phone call, but hold time is another blog entry for another day.) The rep then tells me that it's going to be fixed and then I hang on the line, silently, for 20 minutes, listening to a rep going, "OK...Uh-Huh...I'm making the change now...I'm still on the line...our systems are very slow...I'm still here...the update is in...I'm just waiting for the confirmation...".

This is madness for all concerned, surely? If I could have replied to their e-mail saying, "No, check out my file, we've been through this and here's the previous confirmation number" their rep could have fixed it with 2 minutes of work from me and 5 minutes of work from them, at a moment of their choosing. Instead I spend 50 minutes on the phone total, 20 minutes talking to two different AT&T reps and all to fix a problem that did not need to be fixed immediately.

All they would need to do is have someone check a mailbox and route incoming e-mails into the problem resolution system they use when you call. How can the current system be more efficient for them or their customers?


Jen said...

I feel your pain.

So, your house won't be demolished by said space lazer beam, then? If, by chance, you find yourself homeless, we have extra rooms here in Fort Worth and you both are very welcome.

Now, I believe that any system that makes you phone call them instead of e-mail them has the same guide book in talking to customers. It's all bullcrap. I say this as nicely as I possibly can, b/c I don't understand that in this day and age that 1: they don't "actually" have a help desk for e-mail and that 2: every single one of the representatives has a computer that has a system that is running slow today.

Hmmmpf. Bullcrap. Really. It's crap.

I get that same d*mn response when I HAVE to call, 'cos they don't respond to e-mail and then have to wait for them to change something on their CPU systems after you've waited 30+ minutes to actually SPEAK to someone! Every single company has a customer service rep that has a slooooooow computer. I know. I speak to one on a monthly, if not almost weekly basis. Even my own bank today spoke those same irritating words to me about some interest rate I was inquiring about. And, finally, resulted in not helping me.

Curses on banks. Curses on customer service reps. Curses on non-responsive e-mail systems. Curses on all slow running systems.

***Though I do have to say I am VERY happy to know that I am not the only individual to experience such irritating nonsense.

Jen said...

P.S. Thanks for posting the new blog. I mean, I thought I was going slowly insane clicking on everyone's hoping beyond all hopes that someone had updated their site. And no one had. But I kept trying. Still nothing.

Isn't that the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again hoping to get a different result?


*** this also including Lizzie's postings. Yes and though I don't know her, I do read her blog. Please tell her I'm not a psycho kitty - I just find her funny. . . .

Ian said...

Yeah, I know. I do the same. Click. No updates. Click. No updates. Click...Ooh, Jen's adopted another dog...Click. No updates.

Anyway. Nikki's back tonight, so blogging may get light for another while. :-)

Lizzie Stephenson said...

aww.. very cheered up and enthused to see jen reads my blog. not thinking pyscho kitty at all. after all i have even played on-line-pseudo rock paper scissors with you. :-) will get back into writing it. have tapered off a bit recently cos was a bit stressed.. all better though now. as richard would say big up to you all!

oh and agree with the comments about the crappy phone systems. that and i have to put in this really over the top phoney american accent (which incidentally is the same as my attempt to do a normal american accent which is why my husband's banned me from ever attempting speaking it again) for the automated systems to work. strange how you suddenly get put through to a customer service rep if you start f-ing and blinding. i'm probably blacklisted on an "unstable" list somewhere though... :-)