Friday, May 16, 2008

For English, please press 1

"IVR," it's called
Interactive Voice Response
So I cough, and it goes to the Spanish menu
I don't know enough Spanish to discover my escape
I hang up
And redial
I hold my thumb over the mic on my cell
But somehow
She hears

My son brings me his artwork
Sticks it in my face
But I am trying to concentrate
I have to listen for the right option
What did she just say?
I hang up
Turn and yell at my son for interrupting me
In my conversation
With a computer
Who does not tolerate interruption

I redial
Start at the main menu
Press that first option.
Listen again
1 for blah, blah, blah
2 for X, Y, Z
3 for this, that & the other
Did she say That?

Listen to more
To repeat these options...
I press 9
That was the wrong choice
I am disconnected

I redial
I press zero frantically
zero! zero! zero! zero!
That is not a valid selection. Goodbye!

I redial
I breathe deeply
I can do this
The children are quiet
For now
I will be patient
I am hungry
I listen

Yes. Got that one right!

It's the worst kind of test
Is the reward at the end worth all this expense?

My energy is drained.
My ears are strained
My children are impatiently waiting for me to hear properly
And get off the phone!

Finally, I navigate from one branch to the next
I reach the top of the tree
I think I've got it!
I think I have found the right person
But this human voice now
With an Indian accent
Tells me she will have to get a manager
So I wait
And I hear nothing
And I wonder whatever happened to musical hold?
I'd love a little muzak right about now

My hold is long & silent

I pull the phone away from my now tender ear
The call has ended
I was disconnected

I redial
I write furiously on a piece of paper I will likely lose by the next time I try to reference this call

My hand hurts from pressing the paper so hard
My children are hungry
I am thirsty

I am at the base of the decision tree again

Maybe it will work this time

I immediately ask for a manager.
I am asked all the same questions again
I refuse to answer--I have already given all this information, and will gladly give it again

I am put on hold

I am disconnected again

This time, I think it was on purpose.

I have to get this taken care of TODAY.

I redial.

I climb the familiar tree.
I find a live person on top.

Before I tell you my name, you must promise me not to put me on hold
Or back into the IVR queue!

He promises.

His voice is pleasant.

I want to scream at him, but he is not to blame.

I have to pee

I describe the situation to him
My customer service need
He is nice
He helps me
He keeps our line live & gets in queue, himself
For a manager.

50 minutes pass from my initial dialing to the end of the call.

Authentic interaction with human: 15 minutes.

Then I remember something I forgot!

I redial.

When he gets home, my husband asks me what we did today...

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