Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

For Dumb Service, Press 1

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

For Dumb Service, Press 1

Article excerpt

IS THERE ANYONE READING this who prefers using a voice response system to having a person answer a phone and direct your call?

Maybe there is, but I'm not one of them. And I don't think I'm alone.

Even dealing with a rude of disinterested person is better than groping blindly through the pushbutton purgatory of a voice response system. These systems have gotten quite sophisticated, but that hasn't helped. Some, for example, ask in quite normal sounding tones who you wish to speak with or what you would like to do. Sometimes this works, but other times it's almost comically perverse ("Did you say, 'baloney'?" it politely inquires).

No matter how sophisticated the system, it still requires you to fit your needs into a template designed with someone else's idea in mind of what you need. You're at the mercy of the system designer, who, you suspect, has never actually had to use his own creation, or takes sadistic pleasure in thinking of all the dolts who end up stuck in a loop, or hear the parting salute to the terminally lost, "Goodbye," just before being disconnected.

In two recent calls to banks, yours truly became nearly apoplectic trying to reach a person at a branch, in one instance, and trying to reach a media relations person in the other.

If you don't have the specific name and number of the person you need to reach, you're dead meat. All incoming calls are routed into the labyrinthine maw of the voice response system, where you're left guessing which would be the best way to get somewhere. You can't use the old trick anymore of hitting "0". …

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