Don’t ask the Question if You Don’t Want the Answer!

I love it when people ask you a question because they have to, and then seem completely upset that you actually want to give them a response. I had to call the lovely people over at OSAP, that is the Ontario Student Loan centre. Every time I call, I first get the automated system. It asks me if I want English or French. I say English. This is also something small that I always wondered. There are two voices you hear on the phone. The very english guy and the heavily-accented French woman whose English is fine, but she has an obvious French accent. The English guy says his piece and is gone, but the accented woman’s voice stays around, even when you say you want service in English. Why not get the very English guy to do the, um, English prompts and let the French woman do the French prompts? Anyway, that’s beside the point.

I say I want English and the guy comes on with a message that apparently is the answer to the most common question at the time. Then I press 0, meaning, give me a human. But oh no, the automated thing asks me for my Social Insurance Number and password. I give it and press 0 again and finally get a human. At the end of her conversation with me, she says, “Do you have any questions about the automated system?” I say, “Yes, as a matter of fact I do. How come, when I press 0, it still demands my Social Insurance number and password, even though when I get to you, you’re going to just ask for it again? Why won’t it just put me through to you guys?” The response is a slow, hesitant chuckle and an ok. What? You were hoping I’d have no question? Or you’re sick of that question? Maybe if you’re hearing it a lot, there’s a reason, and the system should be tweaked. I think we’ve reached a sad day when companies actually advertise the fact that you can sideline their automated system and get a human. That was the way it used to be, and that’s the way it should be! Some automation is great, but a machine can’t do it all!

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