The Impersonal Automated Phone System

Once upon a time, when you called a company a real person answered the phone. If you had a complaint, your call was forwarded to a customer service representative. Ah, the good ol’ days. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go back to the time when “customer service” existed? A woman can dream can’t she!

Companies used automated phone systems because they cut costs and save time. Do they really save time and for whom? What about saving the company money? If you lose customers because they’re tired of your automated phone system, how is that saving your company money?

I’m tired of pressing 1 for English or 2 for Spanish. This is America, we speak English. Before you know it, you’ll be asked to press 3 for Mandarin Chinese, 4 for Japanese, 5 for French, 6 for Portuguese, 7 for Swahili, 8 for Latin, and 9 for Hungarian! Once you select your language, you’ll be asked to press 1 for this department, press 2 for that department, or press 3 for another department. You could travel to China faster than you can reach a customer service representative.

Automated phone systems never give you the option to press 0 for the operator. You can try to press 0 and hope to be transferred to customer service or redial and try again. How does this save the customer time? If an operator would be pickup straightaway, you could be connected to the right department in no time.

In my opinion, automated phone systems are the most irritating invention. I’d prefer to hire someone to answer phone calls from customers and have them directed to the correct people. Some may argue this cannot be done because we are global society. Others will argue that scaling back on automated phone systems will hurt corporations. Sigh…

All I want is to speak to a human being and not waste time pressing buttons on a phone. If I want to waste time pressing buttons, I’ll play a video game! It would be more fun than pressing buttons trying to reach the right department and person who can help me!


What bugs you the most about automated phone systems?