I miss receptionists. I am not sure when the powers that be decided that having a person answer the phone and direct the caller to an appropriate department was “old fashioned.” Enter the incredibly annoying, terribly inefficient automated answering systems. They have replaced actual people at every turn.
It seems to me that what I want answered never fits into the categories offered. I sometimes have even taken up the system’s offer to “listen to the menu options again,” thinking that I might have missed the appropriate choice. But that hasn’t helped.
So many people have had such terrible times trying to get help that there are even web sites offering the “secret code words” to say that will get you through to an actual person. Unfortunately, I think the companies change their secret words as soon as too many people figure them out.
My most successful trick so far has been to remain silent through all the choices. Sometimes that actually gets me transferred to the magical “customer service representative.” Other times I repeat as an incantation, “representative, representative, representative.” Other times I just repeat “help.”
I wonder if the person who finally comes on the line wonders why my first words are “Thank God. Are you a real person?”