Call centers of the world, we’re gunning for your asses.
Readers, record your customer service calls and send them to us. We will post them and point out what went wrong. Something super bad need not happen. Let’s kick their everyday banality and inefficiency in the face. HP, AOL, Best Buy, Amy’s Ice Cream Store, Comcast, we want them all. Our maw is open and our belly growls.
Giving the voicebot all sorts of info, only to have the operator ask for it… unbearable hold times… disgusting hold music… reps cutting you off… getting transferred to wrong departments… put all under an arc-light’s glare.
After posting several, we’ll have a vote off and the winner will win a free copy of Quicken, or maybe a toyger.
Here’s quick primer on recording phone calls. We’ll edit out your personal information but you can make it easier by doing that with any number of audio editing programs like Audacity or Audio Hijack. After it’s ready, just email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We must mention that different states have different laws about recording calls. They’re somewhat vague and untested in relation to this particular case, but you should read them first.
To help get this party started, here’s our take on The Most Excruciatingly Painful, Yet Typical, Customer Service Call Ever…
1. Pandering angelic chimes.
2. Pathetically uplifting hold music. What are we, caravaners on the amber waves of grain, getting ready to join the society for the perpetuation of awesome?
3. Who wrote the book that said it’s better for people with noticeable foreign accents to make up fake American names?
4. Dead silence for 20 seconds as “Chris” reviews Mark’s file. Why can’t he say “hold on a sec as I check your file out?”
5. Chris asks for serial number. It should already be in Mark’s file.
6. Chris asks for the model number, it should already be in the file, or in the database.
7. Oh look, Chris found the model number in his database. Guess he didn’t need it after all.
8. Why hasn’t Chris asked why Mark is calling?
9. Chris is trying to talk over Mark.
10. Why can’t Chris send out a new piece of software?
11. Why was it even necessary to request the model and serial number without knowing why Mark was calling?
12. What does being a technician have to do with sending out a piece of software?
13. 30 seconds of hold time.
14. Followed by silence.
15. Followed by Mr. radio demo tape leftover.
16. Followed by the same hold music as before. Have we started back at the beginning?
17. Call disconnected. The failure is absolute.
Chris obviously had no idea of how to handle Mark’s request. Rather than find out, he tossed the call down the phone tree well.
Congrats, HP, now your customer is even more pissed off. Don’t expect any repeat business. — BEN POPKEN