Call center failings

I dread calling companies. Ten percent of that dread is that it's a boring thing to do, usually in response to some billing or service issue. The other 90 percent stems from how utterly painful it can be.

First there's the initial wait. The majority of the places I call play really tinny elevator music. A lot of times it's so full of static that I have to pull the phone away from my ear. Every 30 seconds a recorded voice assures me that, yes, my call is important.

When I call my insurance company to ask a question, I first have to get through The Gatekeeper, an automated (and "oh so efficient!", the company execs think) voice system that forces me to act like an idiot at work, repeating my every word just to get to the option I need ("One....ONE...WUUNN", "...Steven...STEEVEHN"). When I finally get to a person, they tend to ask for the same information I just spent 10 minutes spelling out.

As another example, we've been having issues with our DirecPath connection over the past few days. Every time I call I have to verify who I am, only to be told that I'll be forwarded to a technical person. I'm given a service number that I have to write down and then repeat to the next person that answers the phone. You'd think that that number would bring up my account in some way, but it doesn't. I have to tell this new person who I am and verify my information again.

If for some reason you have to call twice within a few days, you simply roll your eyes at every step of the process. You have to jump through these hoops because the company can't implement a service system that works. If, just once, a customer service agent provides some resistance in the form of a stupid question or inadequate answer, you fume and the robotic nature of the questions become that much more evident.

There are many things I hope to get out of the future, and a decent experience interacting with large companies is one of them.