Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oh the Humanity by Nannette Croce

The other day a raging summer storm left us without power for about 24 hours. While I was grateful it wasn't a hurricane or tornado, it didn't leave me grateful for modern conveniences. Instead, I discovered how these so-called conveniences have made life more difficult.

Lately, we experience several power outages a year. For confined ones you call in and after punching a series of numbers prompted by that bubbly computer-generated female voice––I'm sorry, 1000 is not an option, would you please try again––a recording tells whether a crew has been dispatched and the estimated repair time.

For extensive outages you follow the same annoying menu and receive a recording telling how hard they are working and the outside time of repair which is often 72 hours or more. Call me crazy, but I'd like something more personal and specific.

This isn't all selfish. Last time we scored one of the last bags of ice in the county only to have our power back within the hour. Hundreds of people watched their food rot over the next two days as we watched the ice melt in our yard.

So this time I took advantage of the "old lady rule."Hanging on the line until some real person finally answers. He confirmed, first, that they knew we were out (since we were surrounded by homes with power), and that we would be back online within the day. We were, and a perfectly good bag of ice remained available for a more needy family.

If more companies and politicians, for that matter (who now leave their own recorded messages), only knew the true value of a real human on the line who listens and explains.

I'm grateful I found at least one.


Kathryn Magendie said...

Yes! Here's to Human Voices!

Barbara Quinn said...

One of the tricks I've learned when I get those "voices" is to say the word "representative" whenever they ask for a prompt. It gets me to a human most of the time. The other day I was annoyed and trying to get throught to the cable people, and yelled out "Fly me to the moon." The voice came back. "We have that available and will be able to help you.We'll transfer you now." Me:"Oh no. Oh no." I think they had a sense of humor cause a human then came on the line with a chuckle.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Nice that businesses can use the automated system instead of paying "operators," but for the customer, there's nothing as aggravating. Love you "fly me to the moon," Barb. I may have to try that soon. ;)

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