Thursday, September 23, 2010

shameless promotion (2.0), part xi

Editor's Note: In the ongoing effort of this blog to promote its primary author's flagging failed career as a writer, we present to you this column from the St. Clair Times. As always, you may add your own thoughts in the commentary section, or visit me on Twitter. We thank you in advance for your feigning of interest.

Talking to Machines

“Welcome to Nameless, Soulless Corporation That Provides A Service You Wish You Didn’t Need. How may I help you?”

At first I was confused. I thought I had dialed the technical support line and would be speaking with a person, or at the very least, an automated voice telling me I’d have to hold for a while before I spoke with a person.

What I’d gotten instead was an automated voice … that appeared to want to have a conversation with me.

“Hello?”

“Hello, welcome to Nameless, Soulless Corporation That Provides A Service You Wish You Didn’t Need. How may I help you?”

“Um, what?”

There was a pause.

“Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Briefly describe to me the problem you’re calling about.”

Wait a minute, I thought. It’s one thing to talk to a technical support representative sitting at a desk in a different country with a fake name like “Kevin” or something, who speaks English as a third language. Now I’m supposed to have a conversation with a computer?

I took a deep breath.

“OK … I’m calling about that Service You Guys Provide That I Wish I Didn’t Need. It’s not working correctly.”

There was another pause.

“… Service We Provide, sure. What seems to be the problem?”

I described the problem as best I could. It occurred to me that maybe I should’ve taken a binary code course online.

There was another pause.

“… It sounds like you’re calling about your service. Is that correct?”

“Um, I guess so.”

“Please answer ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘there’s a problem.’”

Did a talking computer just scold me?

“Sorry.”

“Please answer ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘there’s a problem.’”

I’m not sure what sort of face I was making at the time. I do know that my wife had already picked up her phone to contact the local authorities.

“Um … there’s a problem?”

“Briefly describe to me the problem.”

“I already did.”

“… I’m not sure I understood that last part. Briefly describe to me the problem you’re calling about.”

I began to wonder what an aneurysm really feels like.

“Look, I need to speak to an agent, OK? I want to talk to a person! I’m tired of talking to a computer!”

“… Would you like to speak to an agent? Just say ‘agent.’”

“AGENT! AGENT! AGENT! AGENT! AGENT!”

“… OK, you’d like to talk to an agent. Is that correct?”

“YES!”

“… One moment, please.”

There was another pause. And some soft music, which frittered away what was left of my will to live.

“Hello, my name is Kevin. I can help today?”

2 comments:

Peter said...

I told you that Charter DVR wasn't worth the trouble.

Amanda von Herrmann said...

next time tell Kevin you want an account specialist. if you say that three times hard enough, you'll get a person who knows what they are doing who begs you not to cancel your service plan.