Thomas: ‘Press one’ beginning of customer service nightmare

Please press one for English. This is a simple phrase, which most, if not all, of us have heard and come to despise because it could mark the start of a customer service nightmare.

If you have purchased a product or service, chances are you have encountered technical difficulties or a complete breakdown.

While it's bad enough that your service has been interrupted or product has stopped working, you must now make that dreaded call.

Customer service lines are there to assist us, the consumers, when we have a question or problem. Or, at least that what I've been told.

I have called a few customer service lines that have been spot on with assisting me and left a good impression.

I've also had more then my fair share of support line nightmares. You know, those calls where the shrill computer voice assures us "Your call is very important to us."

These nightmares usually start with a prompt to press one for English, which I comply with only to be transferred to a computer, which has limited audio responses.

After about five minutes of "I'm sorry, I did not understand you," I'm doing my best not to scream and continue to press zero in hopes of speaking to a live person.

Those hopes are soon realized and crushed as the person I am connected with is hard to understand themselves or in the wrong department altogether.

Thus, begins the transfer game, where you are sent to another department, which answers their calls in the order which they are received and "all representatives are currently busy, please stay on the line."

Sometimes there will be some music for you to listen to or a commercial for new products. My personal favorite is that message that tells me the automated system which I choose to leave may be able to answer my question.

So you finally get connected with someone who can help you. Sometimes this will be painless and your issue will be resolved. Most of the time the representative will go through a checklist of questions, some of which I can't help but feel are meant to aggravate me even more.

At the end of the call, you are either going to hang up with an answer to your problem or if your lucky you'll be scheduled for a service call from a technician, who will be there sometime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. the following day.

They can't be more specific on what time they will be there but they are specific in saying if you are not home when they show up, you'll be put on a waiting list for the next available technician. They may be in your area sometime between tomorrow and the following month.

After it is all said and done, I am highly tempted to press numero dos the next time I make a call to a customer service line.

Thomas Garcia is a senior writer for the Quay County Sun. He can be contacted at

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