Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Please bring back human beings!

Will someone please tell me where how and why someone in a big institutional building decided one day that person to person contact would be better replaced by big large buildings full of non identifiable telephone operators?

If you happened to be in Gloucester a couple of weeks ago, you may have seen a woman in the middle of a well known high street bank screaming at a telephone. She was screaming in a very loud voice "I just want to talk to a human being".

Well yes, that person was me. It was provoked after several attempts to pay in money through the "machine only facility" (failed miserably four times), and several requests to talk to a member of the management team on duty about a very pressing matter on my business account, that had I was told, to be dealt with in the "Branch". By branch I assume that they meant a building on a high street, and not one of the wood varieties in the forest.

My extremely sane 12 year old daughter looked at the techno mad Room 101 and made reference to its similarities to scenes experienced on Doctor Who. Finally one of the cyber controlled assistants who were to be found wandering around the ground floor, (identifiable by an earpiece and a vacant look on their face) directed me to a telephone, told me to dial "3" and talk to the person on the end of the line. The person on the end of the line was in, not Gloucester, but Swansea. Two hours down the road and not in any position to help me.............. "I'm sorry Madam, but that is a branch decision. You will have to speak to a manager in the branch".

It was at this point, that regardless of the fact hat I had a member of the next generation in tow with me. Regardless of the fact that there were at least twenty other people in the bank, and regardless of the fact that this was a high street bank in a town, I completely lost my rag, threw a wobbly, went wild........... and screamed very loudly.

The response was amazing. Suddenly, people emerged from out of the woodwork. I was whisked into a room quicker than you could say "excuse me please", and all of a sudden, hey presto, I was speaking to "a person". The person, it has to be said was still vaguely of the cyber controlled variety, and I didn't entirely feel comfortable with her somewhat patronising manner. She told me that if such a behaviour pattern were repeated then I may be asked to take my (very large overdraft) business elsewhere, because there were elderly people who like to come to the bank and sit and have coffee, and such a scene may upset them.

Well I'm very sorry all elderly people for my outburst, and please feel free to come round to my house any time, and I will personally make you a cup of coffee, and promise not to increase your bank charges, and .......I'll even provide human contact and conversation for you.

I pointed out to the somewhat patronising manager that I had simply voiced what others were feeling, and that the frustrations of their cyber based - but nonetheless free coffee - system were likely to cause more than one upset before the year is out..................

In the meantime I shall look and wait and look forward to the day when real machines are replaced by real people, and conversations replace emails. OH PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!


Shannon from U.S. said...

AMEN Sally! My most recent frustration was with Dell computer company. All of their tech support is in India, I believe. The language barrier is just ridiculous! Good for you for letting our voice be heard! Bring back human beings!

Sally Lomax said...

Hi Shannon!
I just hate this whole call centre thing. Bizarre isn't it?

ed said...

I still can't believe you did that!!!!
What exactly was the wobbly?!

Sally Lomax said...


Just screamed very loudly that I wanted to speak to a real human being...

And as Sensible will tell you - it is verbatim...