I’ve been fairly transparent here on No Facilities that I am an IT (eye-tea) guy. I manage the department that buys, configures, installs and develops and supports software for our company’s servers, computers, iPhones, iPads and phones.
Yes, phones. As in Voice Mail. Yes, I’m the guy, well, historically, I have been the guy who programs our company voice mail system.
Don’t hate me.
Our voice mail isn’t horrible.
What defines ‘not horrible’ these days? Well, for one, if you don’t know the extension of the person you want to talk to, you can say their name. It works pretty well, even with a name like mine that is pronounced differently from the way it is spelled. And, if you don’t even know the person’s name, you can speak to a human being. You can ask to speak to a human. You can dial ‘0’ to speak to a human being, or you can remain on the line and a human being will answer. If you call after our office is closed, you can leave a message – with – a – human – being.
It almost makes you want to buy our insurance, doesn’t it?
Why am I telling you this?
Because, I’m mad.
I received an automated call from “piggy boats” seeking payment of an overdue invoice. Piggy Boats isn’t a real company, but it’s how our voice mail system’s ‘Speech-to-text’ option interpreted the name of the real company that left the message. I’ll keep their name out of this, except to say that they make postage machines. I don’t need to use their real name. As far as I’m concerned, they are Piggy Boats from this day forward.
Piggy Boats sent us an invoice for $96. We didn’t know what the invoice was for. After crawling through their 100% non-human voice mail system, I hung up and sent an email to the woman who negotiated the lease for the postage machine. The cost was for insurance.
“Yes, insurance. If your building is destroyed by fire, we need to know that our postage meter will be covered by insurance.”
“$96 a month? According to the commercials on ESPN, I can get $50,000 of term life insurance for less than that. Besides, we have insurance on everything in our office.”
I sent my Piggy Boats salesperson the name of our insurance company, the policy number and some other insurancy stuff. She verified the existence of the policy and told me that she would take care of the invoice.
Which is now overdue.
The voice mail I received from Piggy Boats included a phone number that I could call to pay our bill with a credit card. I called the number, with the hope of being able to correct or at the very least complain about this matter.
No – such – luck.
Piggy Boats’ voice mail system is impenetrable. You can pay an invoice, or you can request a copy of an invoice, but you can’t dispute an invoice or ask a question about an invoice, or ask a question at all.
I tried pressing ‘0’ – “OK, let’s start over.”
I tried saying: “Representative” “Operator,” and “Human effing being!” – “I don’t understand, please press ‘1’ for Billing.”
I pressed one for billing, which is how I know I can pay an invoice or get a copy of an invoice, but not speak to a human being. Not even an unhelpful human being in a far-away land.
I could make our voice mail system impenetrable. I know how. I could program it to sit silent when you ask for an operator. I could reroute you to the main menu. I could hang up on you if you say: “operator” “representative” or “human effing being!”
Instead, we pay a small amount of money, less than the amount that term-life policy would cost, to have some nice human beings in Florida answer your call.
To all my fellow voice mail people: “There should always be an option to let your money-paying customers speak to a human being!”
I emailed my salesperson, the one who’s going to regret talking me into leasing this machine, and I dropped this mess into her lap. Maybe she can find a human being.
For the record, my use of the term “Piggy Boats” is in no way meant to offend, insult, or cause any upset to piggies, or boats. As the gallery shows, I like both piggies and boats.