Thursday, October 16, 2008

A response

It’s going to rain today. The bones and joints in my old body are talking to me. They especially weren’t happy going through their paces on the various machines at the Senior Fitness place. I didn’t do too badly on the weight machine or free weights, but that darned leg lift machine for the side leg lifts was just horrendous. I didn’t do my full three reps because some honest pain set in. I did try that semi-ball, but it bounced me off a little early, too. Happens sometimes. Now I’m wondering how next week’s much colder weather will affect me.

As this week continues, I’m getting more work than I’ve had in a long time. Gator Wife, on vacation most of this week, has me doing, of all things, outdoors work. It started last week with a simple task of volunteering to help her with acorns in our driveway. The darned things keep coming down so that task escalated into several help sessions. It continued yesterday except now Nature has added leaves to the mix. And we chopped up tree limbs for kindling. Have I ever mentioned I neither do nor like yard work? I lied about the first part, I guess. I didn’t think I’d ever find anything good about rain!

Very shortly after I posted yesterday (See post below), I got an e-mail from my Fearless Friend who took me to task for something I wrote. It seems he doesn’t agree with me about disliking the automated telephone answerers on customer service calls. I had said, “I believe that if my call is ‘important to ‘ them, they’ll have a real person answering my call on the opening ring. Besides, think of all the employment doing away with automated call answering systems could create.”

His answer was rather blunt. “Would you rather navigate an answering service or talk to some uninformed, stupid, non-English speaking live person that answers on the first ring? It is a tough call, but I think the automated system might be better and it damned sure is cheaper for the company and should keep costs lower. Just food for thought; of course there is a better alternative and that is a bright, cheerful attendant that knows what he/she was talking about. (Those days are over.)”

Well, FF, how many times have you had that answer machine tell you, “Please listen to this horrible music for a couple of hours while the only qualified person takes a dozen other calls ahead of you. Your call is important to us.”? And when that person finally comes on line, you get, to use your words, “some uninformed, stupid, non-English speaking live person” who’s only flipping pages reading unintelligible answers to questions anticipated because you were foolish enough to call.

FF did point out correctly that using the machines is a business decision to keep costs low. We all know that what we pay for goods and services includes the costs of providing them. I don’t know how much value a business puts on customer service to keep customers happy. I many times believe that happy customers are not a high concern. You see, if my call were truly important to them, they would have sufficient numbers of qualified persons answering the phone. And those persons would be located at the main facility of the company.

I put Time Warner in that class of caring. At least the Greater Portland office of the company. Whenever I call TW, I still get that darned automatic answerer, but with only two questions: Business? Or Residence? Since my pressing a 2 immediately connects me with an extremely knowledgeable, English speaking LOCAL in Portland person, I picked the wrong company as a springboard for my ranting yesterday. For that I’m sorry and I applaud Time Warner for having great, local service.

But that doesn’t change a thing for most service calls I have to make. I absolutely hate having to go through sometimes multiple branches on that automatic tree before I get to the wait music, which keeps getting interrupted with, “I’m sorry. All our representatives are still busy. Please remain on the line because your call is important to us.” Perhaps all the busy representatives should give some hint that the company is providing lousy service.

For anyone of you who may be wondering how much damage this little spat between FF and me will affect our friendship, it will not. In fact, I’d put a nickel down that as he’s reading this, he’s laughing his head off and shouting to Mrs. FF, “I did it! I really did it! I suckered that old man right in! It’ll be a long time before he’ll get to forget it!”

GiM (And thanks, FF, for a topic for today.)

No comments: