How to get through to a real, live person

ABC News did a story last week about a Boston-area blogger named Paul English who has compiled a “cheat sheet” to get past the automated “customer service” systems used by more and more companies. The company brass would insist these systems are cheaper than putting a human in the loop:

“A customer service call handled by a human in the United States costs a company up to a dollar a minute, and calls outsourced to India cost about 40 cents a minute.”

Yeah, yeah. But the dirty truth is, companies hate talking to their customers and would rather avoid them if in-humanly possible. I’m proud that our company still has a real, live person answering the phone (except on weekends) who really wants to help you find the right person. I put my direct number on just about every email I send.

As for the cheat sheet… now that ABC and NPR have done stories on this guy, you can bet the listed companies are scurrying around like rats, changing numbers so we can’t “cheat.”

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