Dealing with Phone Reps and Recordings

While working for a company, employees received a letter from HR telling us we needed to call the voice automated system to confirm our accounts. It had to be “the employee” who does it. I asked the manager what I should do about it and she said to have Paul call.
I didn’t trust this process because I’ve gotten phone calls from my credit card company and other businesses that *must* talk to *me*. One time Paul and I were frustrated with a caller. I told the caller that I was Meryl and that she had permission to talk to Paul. It took a few repetitions to get through to her.
I appreciate that companies try to watch out for their customers in times of identity theft — but where can we find a happy middle between the company ensuring safety and getting what it needs while keeping the customer from getting frustrated with jumping hoops.

I thought I had written about the challenges of using the relay service to call an IVR (interactive voice response) system. Here’s an example:
Me: Please call 1-800-I-H8-IVRS (made up, of course). Please try to navigate the system to reach technical support.
Operator: Dialing 1-800-I-H8-IVRS. Listening to instructions. Pressing 2 for tech support. Thank you for calling tech support. If it’s an issue with your printer, press 1. If it’s about your replacement, press 2… and so on.
Me: Press 4.
Operator: System hung up. Redialing to press 4.
Repeat until I reach a live person. Every five or so IVR calls… person hangs up thinking I’m a telemarketer. Redial and repeat. A call that may take most people five to ten minutes (depending how long they’re placed on hold) takes me 30 minutes or more. I appreciate organizations that take advantage of the Internet so customers can do what they need without making a phone call.
You may have read about one person’s problems with Cancelling AOL. AOL is notorious for requiring “free trial” customers to call and cancel their AOL account otherwise it starts charging. This happened to us in the early ’90s.
Netflix has the right idea on keeping it simple. Unfortunately, Netflix is difficult to reach by email. I wanted to make a suggestion and spent more time looking for how to contact them than writing the suggestion.


  1. yeah well see what happened me in a similar circumstance on the street by those charity collecters, I was highly unempressed at the way he handled it!
    these people need to be trained to deal with such situations!

  2. I use the Captel phone for automated systems– this works well for me.

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