Customer Helplines. Why They're More Like Customer Stress-Lines!

You have a problem with your phone reception and need to make a complaint. You have a question about something you purchased and need a clarification. You bought a new gadget but have a concern regarding its features. Who do you call? The customer helpline of course! But do you? If you are like me, you avoid customer helplines like the plague – for any of these many reasons:

Many options no solution

When you’ve tried Google, have read the instruction manual cover to cover and spoken to everyone you know about a possible solution, you finally call the euphemistically called customer ‘helpline’ number. You will be accosted with an automated response, which firstly gives you the information you have no interest in and then leads to complex, indecipherable and completely useless menus requiring you to make dozens of choices.

That painfully cheerful voice

You know the one I mean – the one who is inexplicably happy that you lost your ATM card, who is delighted to tell you that all executives are really, really busy right now? You know the disembodied voice you would cheerfully strangulate if you ever encountered it in person?

The music – Aargh!

I used to like Beethoven's Für Elise sometime in the distant past. I don’t anymore. I positively hate saxophone in general and Kenny G in particular…because of customer helpline music! 

“You are in queue” – No kidding!

That same cheerful voice will tell you why you should hold on, wait to speak to a ‘customer service executive’ and not do the 101 other things that need doing… as though you had a choice in the matter!

“Your call is important” – Really?

My call is important? That is why I have to undergo the torture of calling up a number, hearing long-winded numbers, pressing multiple options, waiting seemingly for hours?

Oh to speak to a person!

After the time and effort, you put into making the right selections, going back and forth between various menus and options, all you want is to speak to a person – a human being who is not an automated, machine-generated voice!

“I'm sorry that information /option is not available”

At long last when you get to hear the blessed sound of a person’s voice, they will inform you, in maddeningly polite tones that they either cannot help you or that you dialed the wrong number. Is it any wonder if such dark thoughts then occur? 

“Please wait while I transfer your call”

So you ask to speak to the supervisor – perhaps the supervisor will be able to do what the customer care executive could not? Hah!

“Please don’t hesitate to call again” – surely you jest!

I would rather subject myself to the Chinese opera; permit a dentist to drill on my teeth than undergo this refined torture again! So when you suggest to call you again, I will politely decline (while silently gnashing my teeth).

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