OK. So I am a self-confessed techno geek/nerd – whatever you want to call me. I LOVE the internet. I’m on Facebook and Twitter. I have a Ning and a Website and a Blog. And I really do HATE the phone, preferring email and text any day! But is the very same technology and speed at which we all have gotten so used to accessing information the very same thing that will one day see me in a straight-jacket, rocking away in the corner of a room, sucking my thumb, chanting “I’m in a safe place, I’m in a safe place”? I wonder….
You know the drill…those God-forsaken computer-generated voices that ask you “What name please?”. You say “Westpac”and they respond with “Did you say, Birch Carroll & Coyle”! You then calmly respond with “No” (sounding very much like a computer-generated voice yourself at this point). You are then asked to “What name please”. You repeat, a little more sternly (like as if the computer will pick up the irritation or emotion in your voice anyway?) ‘WESTPAC” only to hear the response “Did you say, Hilton Hotel?” At this point, you YELL back into the phone “NO! What part of WESTPAC can you make into the bloody Hilton Hotel you moron!?” Like a complete lunatic, red-faced and shaking with veins bulging in your forehead, you then hang up. Only to swing around to see your children staring at you from your office door with a look on their faces that says it all….”Mum’s finally flipped. Better call an Ambulance”.
But the problem goes deeper than that, doesn’t it?! You see, the kids never saw how many attempts you made to actually get the phone number of your local Westpac Branch. They weren’t there while you waited on hold for 20 minutes. They weren’t there to see you (cleverly, you’d thought) go online and browse the many “contact us” options/pages looking for the number only to find a Telephone Banking number. Nooo! They weren’t there watching as you patiently sat in a queue on hold with said Telephone banking, waiting in vain to actually speak to an operator who may be able to give you a landline/contact number of your local branch. And only because you need to check if you left your sunglasses on the counter!
Here’s another scenario. See if you can relate?!
You’re on hold waiting for tech support for either your mobile phone, computer, SEEK.com or any number of other organisations where speaking to a human being on the first attempt would probably render you speechless anyway! You get to the 20 minute mark and another call comes through on your mobile. “Do I, don’t I?” You juggle the handsets. You recognise the number calling and think to yourself “I really should take that call”. You decide to give up on the machine you’ve been waiting to speak to for so long, deciding that you just might be there another hour anyway. But as your handset approaches the receiver you hear in the distance “Thanks for waiting; how may I help you?”!! Arrrrgh!!
If you have any similar stories of frustration, let me know! It’s called “Kitchen table counseling Big Al-style!” It helps too. I promise! But then, don’t take my word for it. What would I know? I’m just another victim of the very technology I profess to love!