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We’ve Got a Problem

woman-upset-broken-computer-22267785Most times when I call to a help center, I choose to talk to a real person. But when Ms. Automated Help Line took my phone call, she intrigued me so that I played her game.

Three times in one week I lost Internet service. The first two times I disconnected the cable from our wireless router, restarted my computer, reconnected the cable, and I could surf the world. The third time my trouble-shooting trick didn’t work, and I called tech support. Ms. Automated answered, with perfect diction.

“Welcome. Your call may be monitored and recorded for quality assurance. Please enter your 10 digit telephone number.” Hoping to get a real person on the line, I pushed 0. “Your selection was not recognized. Enter your 10 digit telephone number.” I did nothing. Would someone pick up the call?

Ms. Automated said, “I can help you. Let’s try this. Push 1 for payment information. Blah. Blah. Blah. 6 for technical support.” I pushed 6. “Say your 10 digit phone number beginning with the area code.” I did. “How may I help you today?” Ms. Automated asked.

“I don’t have Internet service,” I said slowly and clearly. “All right.   Enter your 16-digit customer account number or say ‘I don’t have it.’” I didn’t have it. “I can help you,” Ms. Automated said, “but at any time that I’m not addressing your problem, say agent. To continue working with me, say continue.” It was at this point when I hadn’t responded as Ms. Automated first requested and she seemed positive that she could help that I took it as a challenge to work with her. Could she really tell me how to connect to the Internet? If she couldn’t, what would she do?

Ms. Automated said, “Let me check the modem from my end. It looks good on my network. We are on our way to solving your problem. To continue working with me, say continue. To speak to a service person, say agent.” Was she trying to get rid of me?

Following Ms. Automated’s instructions, I shut down my computer and unplugged the router cable. I booted up my computer and connected the router – exactly what I’d done before calling her. Ms. Automated said, “If this does not resolve the issue say there’s a problem.” After I repeated her last three words, she again spoke with confidence. “We are on our way to solving your problem… Blah. Blah…” What now? “Continue,” I said.

Two more times I followed her directions and two more times I said, “There’s a problem.” And I chose to continue working with Ms. Automated. The phone line was silent for almost sixty seconds. And then Ms. Automated said, “We’ve got a problem. I will connect you with an agent.” She gave up!

I heard a friendly male voice. “Hello, my name’s Musa. I’m sorry your Internet isn’t working. I know how frustrating it is when technology doesn’t work.” Musa listened as I explained my problem, and after a few minutes he and I concluded that I needed a new wireless router. We had a pleasant conversation and not once did he ask me to enter numbers or say continue and he seemed to really care.

Ms. Automated did her best, but it took a real person to identify the reason for the problem and determine how to solve it. Just as I thought.


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