May I speak to a real person? Please?


Lately it seems harder to speak to a real person when making a call to a company. There are the automated menu mazes that offer options that may or may not be applicable to the issue you’re having, so you end up picking the closest one. Or when none of the choices seem appropriate, you press 0 in the hopes of being connected to the operator, who ideally will listen to your question and then send you to the right department.

Then there are the automated voices, sphinx-like gatekeepers which demand information, like the numeric portion of your Westlaw number, or your cell phone or other account number. Some of them allow you to punch in the numbers, others demand that you speak into the phone. The creepiest exchanges are the ones that seem like you’re having a real conversation with one of the automated voices.

Today I encountered a new variation, which are the automated questions that attempt to route your call based upon your answers. I called T-Mobile today to get a cell phone unlocked. It was like a verbal Google search; if I didn’t use the right words, the system would keep asking irrelevant questions. Pressing 0 for an operator or other live person didn’t work. Pausing and not saying anything also did not route me to a live person.

I hung up and called back, and when the automated voice asked me what was my concern, I spoke broadly and simply said “Phone.” I got another confirmation question and then said “technical support,” a phrase which I again repeated to another confirmation question. Finally, I reached a live person to whom I could explain what I wanted and who was quite friendly, willing and able to help me. It was a relief to speak as a human again, instead of trying to communicate on the level of the computer behind the automated voice.

Now I just hope that there wasn’t a typo or that the spam filter is too aggressive for the email I’m expecting.


Do you know about the database?

I didn't actually - thanks for sharing it.

It occurs to me now that I probably could have just blurted out "technical support" the first time the Voice asked me for information.

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