They have -- or I guess had -- a nifty little system by which people can pay bills over the phone. Simple, no mistakes, fully automated. Takes about 3-4 minutes.
Today, I dialed up to make a payment and was routed to....India.
I'm hoping this was a simple glitch and the computer-generated voices will be back next time I call.
PARENTHETICAL I-AM-NOT-A-BIGOT THOUGHT: I have nothing against the Indians I have met. With the exception of an ex-landlord and a couple of store owners and clerks, that is. It's the Happy Hindus who work in "call centers" that bring out virulent hatred....
"Steven" was happy to help me. Except, of course, we were speaking two different languages. He could not understand numbers I read off to him and I, in turn, could barely understand what he was saying.
Three times he got the numbers wrong. I patiently -- and then not-so-patiently corrected him, until he finally got them right. I think.
This took eight minutes.
After I assured him that yes, I knew there is a website for AT&T and no, I did not want to enroll in "automatic bill payment" (at least until I can enroll my clients in a similar program), he started in on the "thank you for calling AT&T..." spiel. As if I had any choice.
Wait, I said. The good old automated system gave me a reference number I could use if there was a problem with the payment and I had to call a human. What about it, I asked "Steven."
"Oh yes, please hold for a moment," he said. Eventually, he came back with a number I had to have him repeat three more times.
Elapsed time: 11:02. That's a net loss of seven minutes out of my life wasted talking to some cretin halfway around the world.
God, I miss automated phone systems. They were so much more human than the operators of "call centers."
20 hours ago