Don’t make me talk to the automaton

IVR-1Ring … Ring … Ring …

Hello, you have reached xyz customer service. How can I help you today? You can say something like “sales”, “faxed order”, or “returns”, or …

OR arrrgghhh … I hate these systems. I am not talking to you.

It’s completely irrational and completely out of character, I know. I can’t explain it. As soon as I hear them launch into this forced voice response script, I’m instantly irritated. It pushes a button I didn’t know I had. I’ve even been known to say unspeakable things to the automaton to test the full range of their recognition capabilities. Certain words $%@#*&@ are apparently not in the database 🙂 I can confirm that thus far the best they can do is “sorry, I couldn’t understand, could you repeat that”.

Why does this send me over the edge? In a world where it’s considered aberrant behavior to talk to yourself or inanimate objects, this system is forcing me to do just that. Speak to the automaton. We’ve been lured into many dehumanizing aspects of our technological progress by seductive benefits, but this one feels like brute force with zero appeal. If you want this service, you will have to talk to the robot — there’s no other way. It feels demeaning.

I read that in spite of some customer “resistance”, these systems are very effective at handling larger call volumes and more quickly connecting customers to the appropriate information or person — of course, all with far fewer ‘real’ phone operators.

But, can I please just have an option to talk to someone !!!!!!!!!!!!


About lynnmorstead

Writing about the small things that shape our lives
This entry was posted in Culture, Media, Progress, psychology, Society, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Don’t make me talk to the automaton

  1. Rhonda says:

    My response to these automation systems is to say “REPRESENTATIVE” and I am connected to a human. Call me a luddite. (I know you do! ;-)) )

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