If my call is so important to you please answer it
WHAT is it with people not answering phones? Worse, if you do finally connect, you have to wade through 25 options before being kept in a queue where you are told repeatedly that ‘your call is important to us’. Yes, of course it is. I am such a precious commodity that after a long, expensive wait, the robot tells me they are so busy that I should call back later. No way of knowing how much later, and no chance to leave a message. Grrr…
I appreciate that automation has huge advantages. When using Amazon, doing internet banking or buying theatre tickets where you can choose your own seat, there is no need to speak to a real person. And in most cases, it’s much easier not to.
But there are times when this may be necessary, such as when the technology goes into freefall.
Recently I booked a table for two at a branch of Café Rouge. Wonderfully easy to do on their website. Unfortunately, a few hours later things changed and I had to cancel. So, back on the website, to call up my booking and press the cancel box. Up popped a message saying it was not possible to cancel at this time, so try again later or phone the restaurant.
After several more abortive attempts on the Café Rouge website I left for my alternative engagement, but phoned three times during the evening, including at 7.30pm when I should have been there. Each time it rang, but no-one picked up the phone.
On a busy Friday night I would have thought it would be good not to have a table reserved, with no-one claiming it, so the next day I rang to tell them about their system’s deficiencies.
A young woman listened politely before saying, “Oh all right, I’ll cancel it for you then.”
I explained again through gritted teeth that it was a booking for the previous night. “Oh, well, thank you for apologising” she said …
My grumpiness was (almost) eradicated by an experience at Monsoon in Uxbridge. After ordering a dress on the website, I wondered if it had arrived at the shop. With dread I dialled the number, only to be greeted by a friendly voice who confirmed my order had turned up that morning and she was just about to email me. Which – good grief – she promptly did.
Tell me your experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org.