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Friday, February 26, 2010

I Fought the Phone -- -- -- And I Won

One of my tasks last week was to call our insurance company and inquire about an unpaid claim. Immediately I know that you know that this is a dreaded undertaking.

I dialed the 800 number and was not surprised to find myself entering a robotic menu. Bot-man proceeded to obtain identifying information only surprising in that the recordings included a clickety-click sound to mimic a human’s typing the data. I was then put through several choices which I made carefully in hopes of reaching a human being.

As I sensed my destination approaching, bot-voice posed the instruction for me to provide the exact dates of service in question. I was stumped. We had submitted nearly a year’s worth of pharmacy receipts. Even if I’d anticipated this question, surely they wouldn’t want the date of each time we’d filled a prescription. The only answer that immediately came to mind was “2009.” Bot-voice responded: “I’m sorry. I didn’t understand. Would you please repeat?” Robots are very polite.

I scrambled for a new answer. “All year.” That didn’t work either. Like a naughty child, I was being sent back into menu purgatory, but was somehow disconnected en route. Or maybe deliberately.

Next try. I yawned through the interminable collection of ID info. Went through the round of choices, confident that I was headed in the right direction and was prepared to answer the trick question that had previously stumped me.

There it was. Give dates of claims. “I want a person.” It couldn’t hurt to try. Bot-man couldn’t understand me again. “Wanna person,” I said quickly. Bot-man again apologized for not understanding and then said the beautiful words: “I’ll transfer you to an agent.” Omigod, I had broken through. I almost heard the human’s entire greeting before we were disconnected again.

I muffled a scream, but realized I’d found the answer.

Eagerly, I redialed and zipped through the lengthy, but now predictable portions of the call. Then the critical question. “List dates . . . blah blah.” I replied quietly: “mumblemushmumble.”

Bot-voice didn’t exactly say HUH? – but he did apologize and ask me to repeat. Just as quietly and mush-mouthed, I said, “mumbledymumble.”

“Please hold while I transfer you to an agent.”


Nice lady answered. Efficiently took care of our issues. And I learned a valuable lesson that I hand to you as a gift. Telephone menus don’t like mumblers. Next time, I’ll just do it earlier in the menu.


Anonymous said...

I have been doing much the same thing for several months now.
As long as you give the "wrong choice" of responses....or just keep punching 0, you can eventually get a real person.
These automated systems can be a challenge!

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