If you hate automated phone attendants, say ‘yes’ now | NevadaAppeal.com

If you hate automated phone attendants, say ‘yes’ now

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

As I get older, I find myself more irritated than I used to get over some things.

This week’s pet peeve is automated attendants answering telephones, or anything comparable.

I don’t like to talk to machines, except to swear at my computer from time to time. I don’t know why some large corporations or government entities think I will talk to their “auto attendant,” who never has the answer to my question.

I never even liked answering machines and I can’t stand these “auto attendants,” these disembodied, computerized voices who say really stupid things like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that,” when I tell them where to stuff their disembodied, brainless voice.

I don’t know which is dumber, the voice or me for responding to it.

I could take my business elsewhere, and if possible, I do. But it’s tough to do without phone or electric service these days.

Top-notch customer service, to me, means dealing with a human being who can think, who knows the answer to my question or who can find another human being who will know the answer to my question. Anything less is substandard service.

Yes, I, know, I take it too personally. It’s not about me, it’s about the bottom line. These “auto attendants” cost less than real people.


If that’s true, how come our gas, phone or electric bills don’t go down? How come our taxes don’t go down? They’re not paying wages or benefits when they have fake people answering the phones. So why do they still need so much of our money?

Have you ever noticed that the same corporations or government entities that are quick to pass on their increased costs to you never pass on the savings when they lay off Americans in favor of automation or outsourcing? (I’ll talk about outsourcing another time – my blood pressure’s high enough already.)

I almost went ballistic – OK, forget the almost – one day trying to find the state Division of Health Protection services in Carson City, to deliver a form for one of Virginia City’s food events.

The form used was outdated, and had the incorrect address on it. When calling, I had to go through the computerized “auto attendant” just trying to get directions to the new office.

Whoever got that message on your voice mail – sorry.

We all know about dialing “0” right away to get to the receptionist, but the evil corporations and government entities that no longer want human beings answering their phones are on to that.

I learned a trick though – just keep talking to the “auto attendant.” It doesn’t matter what you say. If you keep talking eventually the moronic “auto attendant” will say “I’ll transfer you to a customer service representative.” Which is what I wanted when I first dialed the phone.

I have even started really making the “auto attendant” sorry – instead of saying “yes” or “no” where prompted, I just read them my latest story. I get to a human being in no time.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 881-7351.