Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Brief Rant of the Day

Among the features of modern life I hate the most: trying to contact a business by phone.

If you have anything resembling a complicated question, the search for an answer may drive you past mad as you try to navigate a maze of machine voices. For this, press 1; for that, press 2. Option 1 sounds a little like what you need (though not exactly), so you press it, hoping the next voice you hear will be human. No such luck; instead you're presented with another round of options, or else an offer of help with tasks so simple that a machine can handle them. If your question doesn't quite fit within their option boxes, you're plain out of luck.

The wisest of businesses maintain a single, sanity-saving option, even if it is the last item listed in an interminable menu: "To speak to a representative, press 0." Thank God for each and every business that includes this option.

However, a good many businesses don't give their customers this choice. They need to realize that sometimes -- maybe even often -- their customers don't want to talk to machines. They don't trust machines to solve their problems. They want the comfort that comes with the sound of a knowledgeable human voice. I know, we all love technology; technology is a life-saver; technology has helped simplify our existence in countless ways; etc. etc. But on occasion, the human touch is still the best.

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