customer service has definitely evolved NEGATIVELY!! ..from primarily having phone conversations with real representatives to having automated answering systems as well as live chat support and filling out email forms that guarantee responses within a business day. I think this applies to most goods and services and their respective companies we all use – cell phone carriers, computer software, credit cards, utilities, and banks. At one point or another, all of us must pick up a phone and attempt to reach these companies with the intent of resolving an issue. While I am a fan of online billpay systems, automated phone systems need some improvement.Last week I had to call my credit card company to straighten out issues with my payments . After listening to what seemed like 10+ options on the first level menu, there were probably 5 sub-options within those 10+ options. Already getting impatient, I just wanted to speak to someone. After 3 minutes of “All of our representatives are currently busy. Please hold for the next available agent. We appreciate your business” looping,

I finally got a canned greeting from a real person. I tried to explain that I had my online payment was made last week and not received, yet I still got an unpaid notification phone call. Therefore I also made a phone payment. I get the response of “I’m sorry, the activity on our online billing systems and our phone payment systems are separate and we have no idea if one payment was made on the other.” Uhh, okay. Aren’t these things supposed to be in synch? It’s a simple expectation, really.Oh, and my favorite automated answering systems are the ones that prompt you to speak, as if you were ‘trying’ to talk to a voice reading machine: “Welcome to ____. To ensure the accuracy of your account, please SAY your 20 digit account number now.”No, I really would rather key in the number and press #. After trying to speak the account number, I get either “Did you say… 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 ?” or “I’m sorry, I was not able to hear that. Could you repeat your 20 digit account number?” Do you (as in the machine) also understand that I’m trying to do this in between breaks at work ?????

I understand that having these automated systems reduces the costs of having extra representatives to perform the same tasks of routing calls and filtering requests, but gosh, sometimes they just suck.