Sometimes I wonder about automation. Doing business by telephone or on line can be frustrating, especially to one like myself who does very little of it that way. Even to people who are experienced it can be time-consuming and irritating to wend a way through the maze of recorded voices to find, at last, a person, an intelligent human being, to talk to. And, if you get one, consider yourself lucky if that person doesn’t say something like, “Oh, I’m sorry; I don’t handle questions like that. Would you like to call another department? I can give you their number. Or, I can also give you their website. It’s www....”
I understand that in today’s world answering machines and computers save money for businesses, but they also deprive many people of jobs. People who should be capable of reasoning and responding intelligently to simple, direct questions.
Some years ago Robby and I bought a vacation time-share. Every time I attempt to arrange for the use of it I have to work for hours on the telephone or computer to make a simple reservation. Once that is successfully accomplished and I have refrained from anger and insult I feel so proud of myself!
But, seriously, haven’t you wondered if the money saved by automation might be better spent to train a mellow-voiced person with a background of knowledge? Even if a number of people answering phones would be required, the good will and patience of business contacts should be worth it. And why wouldn’t any business be happier hiring smart young people than cheating them out of entry jobs so necessary to launch them on careers? Even single parents need jobs.
I own a time-share vacation condo with the largest company of its kind in America. It’s been a joy to spend vacations with it but an absolute pain to make a reservation. I get shuttled back and forth from one web-site to another, one department to another. It can take literally days to arrange for a place.
“I’m sorry, but due to the overload of calls received, please leave your phone number and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.” So I wait and wait and wait. And I try again.
Automation is no way to do business, I say. For sheer friendliness and cooperation and good will give me a person and don’t do business with recorded messages!
P.S. Anyone out there who wants to buy my time-share? No? Well, I thought not. When and if this vacation goes through I’ll let you know if it was worth it.