Voicemail Frustrations

by Carole Fawcett - Date: 2007-02-03 - Word Count: 735 Share This!

A few weeks ago I received a letter from a telecommunications giant informing me that the method I used to pick up my messages from their voice mail was being changed. I carefully followed all the directions and made all the necessary changes.

You can appreciate my surprise, when a week later, I arrived home from work, to find a message waiting for me on my voicemail indicating that I had not made the requested changes. How odd I thought, as I just received their recorded message.

Feeling tired, having just finished my five day stint of work, I feel slightly irked at this development. However, as I want to be able to receive my messages in a timely manner, I re-start the process.

I dial the number and a robot answered. For one deluded and yes, I'll admit, totally insane moment, I thought I would actually get a live human being. Sigh. I feel annoyed at having to dialogue with a recorded voice, but remembering ('cause I do teach this stuff) that stress is caused by our response to a situation, I choose to remain calm. Breathe in love and breathe out peace. Ahhhhhhh…

Who am I kidding? I do not feel the least bit loving or peaceful about this whole process. I've been through it before with different organizations to know what lies ahead. Bad attitude I decide. So onward I plod.

I am then asked to either state or punch in my phone number. I state it. Then the robot asks me what I am calling about and makes some suggested responses. I follow the advice and say "phone". I am not heard and have to listen to it all over again and repeat it again. PHONE I nearly yell. From the recesses of my mind, I hear the words "patience is a virtue."

I'm not sure what happened exactly, but many options and button pushing forays later, I hear 'the voice' asking me to state which internet service I need help with. I don't want help with the internet, I want help with the phone. With any vestige of being calm now long gone, I attack the "O" (for Operator I hope) button by pushing it many times in an almost frenzied manner, thinking that if I push hard enough I'll get a human being. (panic tends to produce skewed logic)

The robot returns, which does not amuse me and tells me I have five service options. Close to tears with frustration, I wonder, quite rudely out loud, why we need all these options. Although I'm grateful 10 options are not offered, as my memory isn't what it once was and I'd have to use the "if you'd like to hear these choices again" option. I then push one of the five (expletive deleted) options.

Miraculously, the voice leaves and is replaced with an actual person. I'm stunned into temporary speechlessness, but quickly regaining my composure (in case this live person disappears due to the millisecond of silence) I ask beseechingly, " Could I please have help with my voicemail"?

The woman asks me to provide details. I do. She then tells me she is the wrong person to speak with as she deals with the internet. Arrrrggghhhhhh!! I'm certain my blood pressure spiked at this point and I felt like I was close to becoming unreasonable.

She then said she would transfer me to another department. OHMYGAWD!! "Will I have to punch buttons again" I squeak out in a childlike panicky way. Before there is a response, there is a click on the line and another live human voice asks how they can help me. Perhaps a Supervisor was listening, because I think they heard the 'almost-to-her-breaking-point' edge to my voice.

I became inarticulate in my attempt to spew out all the challenges I experienced in getting to this point. Stumbling over my words, I finally manage to explain my original dilemma, albeit in a somewhat discombobulated manner. At one point in this explanation I remember I am a Stress Management Consultant and offer up some free wisdom (tongue in cheek) to this person who must experience verbal abuse with almost every call she takes. (and no, I didn't)

It was, in the end, their error. We even managed to laugh quite a bit together, although my laughter could be described more as hysterical noise than laughter.

My next project is to figure out how to use the DVD player. Prayers most gratefully received.

Related Tags: patience, robot, frustration, messages, telecommunications, voicemail, button pushing, operator

Carole Fawcett is a Stress Management Consultant and Laughter Coach. As a freelance writer, she is a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. She delivers keynote addresses, speeches and workshops to the Corporate world. She believes that if you are not having fun in your life, then you must make some changes. She hopes you enjoy her writing style and would love to hear from you. http://www.afunnybusiness.ca

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