Monday, 18 August 2008

The Humans are Dead

I am writing this in response to The Ambling Rambler's blog today Are Customer Service People Dense? (well worth the read) since I had a similarly stupid experience today with my mobile phone service provider. I don't want to post their actual name here so for this blog let's just call them “V-Mobile”.

I've been a V-Mobile customer for years. I really like them. They give fantastic service and have good plans and products. However, one thing I never counted on was the stupidity of their automated phone system.

I needed to give them a call today because I had a simple question about my plan. Logically I figured this would simply involve looking up their phone number and talking to a Customer Service Person. Since they have to handle a large number of calls around the country I imagined that I might get a short automated message followed by “If you would like to speak to a Customer Service Person press 0” followed by “Hello” from a human. Similar to the Woosh system which is great. You pretty much get the option to talk to a human from the word go.

But no. Instead I got their idiotic phone system which took me five goes at to actually find a human to talk to. My last two machine conversations went something like this (although this is MUCH shorter and less complicated because there is no way I can remember verbatim every insane level they programmed into this thing!):

V-Mobile Phone System: “Welcome to V-Mobile. For Prepay press 1, for On Account press 2, for information on number portability press 3”

Me: OK no option for a human so I press 2 for On Account since I have one. So far so good.

VPS: “Thank you for calling V-Mobile. We have not been able to recognise your mobile number. (Well of course you haven't - I haven't been asked to put it in yet!) To allow us to offer you better service please enter your mobile number now. If you do not have this number press #”

Me: I enter my number

VPS: “Please enter you mobile phone activation number”

Me: WTF!!!! This is the number you unlock the phone with when you first get it. I got my phone 3 years ago. There is no way I have any clue what it is now! But there is no way to go further without it so I hang up and try again and this time skipping past the part where you put in your mobile number. So it continues...

VSP: “Welcome to V-Mobile” For Prepay press 1, etc etc etc blah blah (up to the point I was up to before except I select # to skip the mobile phone number) And then:

VSP: "Welcome to V-Mobile"

Me: OK, got it the first time. I thought I was there already!

VSP: “The time is 3.11pm”

Me: Whoop-tee-doo. You don't say! I have my own watch and don't need to be told this but perhaps they could further waste my time by adding a weather report and a news update and any other crap I don't need to be doing right now.

VSP: “For technical support for your iphone 3G blah blah blah ..... please hang up and call some other number. For info on getting an iphone 3G blah blah blah... call yet some other number”

Me: Great I don't have one of those and don't want one either but if the lucky people who do have one get a special number to call great. Good to know. I am now informed should I ever get one. Thanks for the extra advertising.

VSP: “For account information press 1, for Global Roaming press 2, for some other Family offer press 3, TO SPEAK TO A CUSTOMER SERVICE PERSON PRESS 0

Me: Yes! Finally! Thank you God! I press 0

VSP: “If you would like to speak to a customer service person press 1”

Me: WTF! Didn't it register the first time? Maybe they should reword it to “Are you really really REALLY sure without any doubt you really want to speak to a Customer Service Person?”

VSP: “Thank you for choosing to speak to a Customer Service Person”

Me: GET TO THE FUCKING POINT!!!!!!!! I don't want to be thanked for my choice. I want to speak to someone. Preferably this century.

VSP: “To allow us to offer you better service we need to validate your identity. Please enter your mobile number...”

Me: Fuck not this again. Thankfully there is an option to continue on to speak to someone without entering the dreaded activation number. I FINALLY get a human. This is after about half an hour of pressing buttons. And what do I get from the human? First before he can answer my simple question I have to be interrogated for more information...

“What is your full name?
What is your birthday?
Where do you live?
What is your mobile number?


Holy hell. All for a simple 2 second question. What ever happened to the type of Client Service where a friendly person answered the phone and was cheerfully helpful? Also I hate to think what happens if you are a poor unfortunate non-V-Mobile potential customer looking to phone up, heaven forbid without an activation number, to simply find out something before signing up!