Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Press 1 For Irritation!
I recently received a letter from Mammograms R Us (name changed to protect the innocent) informing me that I had an overdue bill. The letter was terse and threatened to send my name to a collection agency. Clearly, the company had not properly filed the claim with my insurance company. There was a phone number on the letter, so I attempted to call to get the problem resolved.
When I call a company with a problem, like most people, I would rather speak to a person than a robot-and preferably one who speaks English. But not surprisingly, Mammograms R Us had a voice recognition unit--- a robot I shall call Myrna.
(Although I occasionally take the liberty of exaggerating in my blog, exaggeration was not necessary here.)
Myrna started by asking me to key in my account number, reminding me that the account number consisted of a series of letters and numbers. How very nice of Myrna to help me easily find that account number! I keyed in STM234.
Here’s where the trouble starts:
Myrna: “You entered 786234. If this is correct, press 1”
I took 4 years of Spanish and can remember 3 words: si (yes), no (no) and cerveza (beer). Expecting me to remember that STM translates to 786 in phone-pad-ese is asking way too much. I took a leap of faith and pressed 1.
Myrna then asked for my date of birth, and repeated it back to me and said “If this is correct, press 1”. She did the same thing for my zip code, my street number, my IQ and my shoe size (sorry…. couldn’t resist).
Then came the fun part.
Myrna: “Please say the name of your insurance carrier”.
Myrna: “You said ----(insert my voice) ‘Cigna’. If this is correct press 1”
I thought….OK, that’s my voice saying Cigna. Why would I not press 1? If I pressed 2 would I be accusing myself of lying?
On his closing night, Conan O’Brien advised his audience not to be cynical and that the way to get ahead in life is to be nice. I took Conan’s advice and pressed 1.
Myrna: “Please say the address of your insurance carrier”
Me: “Are you kidding? It’s Cigna!! I don’t know the address”
Myrna: “You said…Are you kidding? It’s Cigna!! I don’t know the address’. If this is correct, press 1.”
I pressed 1.
Myrna: “Please say the zip code of your insurance carrier.”
Me: “FORGET IT! I’LL CALL BACK WHEN I CAN TALK TO A LIVE PERSON”
Myrna: “You said ‘FORGET IT! I’LL CALL BACK WHEN I CAN TALK TO A LIVE PERSON.’ If this is correct, press 1."
I pressed 1.
Then I hung up.
I think I’m going to program my own personal voice recognition system for when the collection agency starts calling.
If you are calling to give me money press 1.
If you are calling to ask for my money, please press the square root of 4,985,999 times 356 divided by the standard deviation of 145,359,539,100, and 400 times pi.
We’ll see how far they get.