We hit such a nerve with the “Unpaid Second Jobs” post we’re bringing it back for another update. Seems there are plenty more folks fed up with the phone trees, apps, terrible ‘hold’ music, and hoops we must jump through…when there are tons of unemployed people who would be happy to take our calls, schedule our appointments, and help us with our tech.
A late addition, Christina T., has the right attitude – she doesn’t work for free.
Surveys? Not anymore because I’m giving away free information. If a company or hospital needs me to ‘consult,’ they can pay me a $150 consulting fee.
You GO, girl! She also has a smart comment about the fashion for unreadable online instructions in tiny grey type fonts.
Reader Karen adds her take on the perennial BS comment we hear while on hold.
And if I’m told one more time how important my call is to them, I will scream!
There are several terrific new comments in the comments below, as well – so add yours while the latecomers peruse the previous update, below.
Seems we hit a nerve last time with the rise of self-service via web, text, phone trees and more. Every commenter save one wanted to quit their unpaid jobs as receptionists, customer service, and tech support.
Some, like Reader Jane, are sick of the merry go round when compelled to install an app to get a customer service phone number….which directs her to the app.
The cable service person should come to my house to fix problems. Instead I’m on the phone for hours, first to get a human being on the line. Then, as a senior I become the repair guy, trying every suggestion to diagnose and fix the problem including pulling furniture away from the wall to access the back of the tv and cable box, getting down on the floor, reading tiny box ID numbers, and pushing every button. I also wish iphones, TVs, and electronics came with printed instruction manuals.
Kris C. sums up Phone Hell…
The rounds of hitting 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 on the phone, only to be instructed to repeat that process in the 2nd and 3rd and 4th step drives me crazy….I view it as jump in the deep end of the pool and learn how to swim. It isn’t going away.
…and don’t ask Reader Judy about texting!
I’m tired of businesses that respond ONLY via texting. ..The office manager & I spent more than a few hours texting back & forth with me trying to explain the situation & schedule an appointment. This could’ve been handled in 10 minutes, or less with an actual phone call.
Reader Wendy, one sharp cookie, picks up on a very interesting aspect of “live chat.”
I also agree will all of the comments! Companies don’t list a phone number on their web site because they have no one to take a phone call but they have a live person who can do a “live chat” with you. Really?? Why can’t they just pick up the phone??
Why not? Maybe the next time I get a ‘live chat” I’ll ask them.
Reader Al points out the new realities of customer service and he ain’t happy about it.
I agree with all. Customer/Patient “Service” is non-existent. Companies/Health Care people have dumped many of their past jobs on to the consumer/patient. Makes me wonder what do they do to earn their paychecks now?????????? Tech has COST the consumer/patient time, not saved it. EVERYTHING takes longer.
Reader Ocean offers the (only) opposing view.
I love the convenience of scheduling on line, ordering take out or delivery or even grocery shopping on line. For me it saves time. I super enjoy attending or teaching classes on zoom. No more driving or walking to a class in all kinds of weather and I don’t worry about when students arrive .
As long as the online classes are with Senior Planet, Ocean!
We’ll keep the comments open for a while. Please share your pet peeves and feel free to vent...who knows? Maybe some companies will listen up! Want to know what the fuss is about? The column that started it all is below.
Looking at my inbox or my smartphone, one would think I am:
-a data entry clerk
-an appointment secretary
-an answering service
I do not want any of those jobs, but I have been drafted for all of them!
Data entry hell
One of the things that made going to the doctors tolerable was the quiet ten or fifteen minutes spent in their offices filling out their forms. The receptionists were all nice, sometimes there was coffee, and I had the chance to collect myself before seeing the doctor.
Nope. Now it’s two or three emails inviting me to open an account and enter all my info for them once I make up a user name and figure out a unique password with more than 8 letters or numbers, one symbol and one uppercase letter.
Then I must negotiate my way around the online appointment calendar.
Thing is, I’ve done all that and I have never seen the doctor any sooner, – and last time I counted I had 62 passwords.
Call me old school. I say bring back receptionists.
And that’s just the medical ones, Don’t get me started about the financial ones, the membership ones, the insurance ones, the shopping ones, or the corporate ones where you have to go through a phone tree for fifteen minutes before you can talk to a human.
To add insult to injury, none of these entities pass along any of the savings to the customer even though I am an unofficial employee.
I swear I’m working harder and at more jobs than I did when I was working full time….and there’s no vacation time from any of these!
Call me old school. I say bring back receptionists.
And in person customer service without fifteen “press 1, 2 or 3” options.
And answering services that actually answer instead of requiring me to speak into the void with some quite personal information. Sometimes the callback number is unidentified and I miss it because I think it’s the thousandth person telling me my auto warranty expired when I don’t have a car.
I could go on and on, but that’s me. How about you? What old school human contact do you miss the most that’s been replaced by an automated/online service….and you? Let us know in the comments!
Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send Open Thread suggestions to email@example.com.