I telephoned a large business today. As usual, the answering machine
> asked me to enter my account number "for faster service". I did so.
> After the usual parade through many menus I was connected to an actual
> human being. The first thing she asked me for was my account number,
> even though I had keyed it in "for faster service".
> I find this happens all the time.
> What is the point of requesting an account number if it isn't going to
> be automatically forwarded to the person handling the call?
With today's fancy computer systems, the idea is that after getting my
> account number, my account screen is immediately displayed to the
> person handling my call, saving the time to ask for my account number
> and her to key it it. But this never happens. [snip]
> Anyone familiar with the programming of these 'automated' systems and
> would care to comment? Thanks.
Automatic Call Distribution systems are very expensive, and every company that runs a "customer service" number tries anything it can to cut costs, which usually means outsourcing to third-party vendors, who sometimes have different systems, software, and displays than those you started with at the company you called.
In other words, although their in-house equipment might record your number, they have transferred your call to another system or company that can't make use of the information. This is especially common in out-of-hours call centers, where costs are low enough to justify the added time to manually key your number into the foreign system.
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