HELP IS ON THE WAY - Outsourced By The Global Market


This past week I spent most of the day trying to contact a company about a problem I had with their device.

With all respect to the woman with a heavy accent I could not understand, it was a trying time.

I thought about my Aunt Gladys Weaver Stump, before she died at 93, who said she yearned for the return of a time when you could talk with someone in charge that you could understand.

"I like to talk to people face-to-face when I have a problem," she said.

Well, sorry Aunt Gladys. Those are things about which to reminisce.

Then I remembered the tale Dianne wrote about calling the electric company.

By Dianne Weaver - 2001

The power went off at the house yesterday, more problems with the line on Pine Creek Road. I called the 800 number in the phone book to report the outage, a somewhat common occurrence in the Village of Hur.

I got the AEP's "Customer Solution Center" and a recording "Punch 1 if you want...2 if you want"...well, you know the drill.

I did, after which I got the "Your call is important to us" message. Then there was the musical treat of Beatles tunes being played by an orchestra, punctuated with a few more "Your call is important to us" messages.

The "Customer Solution Center" asked me to punch in my phone number, which I did. A recorded voice said the "Solution Center" could not validate my home phone number, sorta like "You have performed an illegal operation."

Funny the company never has a problem validating it, when the bill is due. I hung up and went through the whole thing one more time, dozing off to the muzak. I was told again, "Your call is important to us."

After a long wait ("Stay on the line and a service representative will assist you.") Eureka! An honest to God, human person came on the line. The nice lady asked, "Where are you located"?

I explained I live in Calhoun County WV, the county seat is Grantsville and my mailing address is Mt. Zion 26151. There was a pause. "What address is your house?" she inquired. I explained I live on Pine Creek Road, but I have a Mount Zion mailing address. There was a pause.

"Could you give me your phone number please?" I gave her my phone number. Again, that didn't seem to help matters. "So, you are on Pine Creek Road. I'm checking." A few moments later she said "Ma'am, there is a Pine Creek Road near Omar, WV." I replied, "That's nice! Do they have power?"

Again, I gave the pertinent information, phone number, road, address, county and state, she put me on hold. I thought she may come back on the line and ask for our sons immunization records, or perhaps my mother's maiden name, but she only told me that she was still checking.

Well, I finally got the drift and told the nice lady I was going to hang up. She asked why. I kindly told her I was going to fill my oil lamps, perk a pot of coffee on the stove, like in the olden days and crank up the old Victrola.

I inquired and she told me the friendly solution/service center was located in Columbus, Ohio. I fought the urge to tell her there is a Columbus in Georgia, Nebraska, Montana, Texas and...but that would have only lead to my asking, "Do they have power?"

God knows, she would have put me on hold while she checked.

In fairness, the local power company folks did get the power back on quickly. Apparently, one of our good neighbors had already been through the drill.

In other requests for help for customer service, the friendly voice on the other end had an accent, which I discovered was from far away India.

The rep replied to my concerns about our computer with some clarity, reading from a script.

Unfortunately, my problem was not answered by the script after which I embarked on the routine, one more time.

Then there is that routine when you call the phone company, a company that will not allow you to tell them your already identified problem. They have trouble-shooting check lists, which go on and on.

Oh, well, it is the 21st Century.