Automating a phone system? Please avoid doing this:

1. Speed through important instructions: Normally I’m stomping impatiently with slow speaking automated systems. But for their instructions on how to put a freeze on your credit report, Equifax seems to have hired the guy that reads disclaimers at the end of commercials involving contests or pharmaceuticals. Check this out: 1-888-766-0008

2. Require English speakers to press 1. There should be a default language, whether it’s English or something else. There’s no good reason to make everyone press a button to get to a language. T-mobile is one of few that gets this.

3. Disconnect without further info of how to escape. The recording ends and you’re left hanging. How do I repeat? How do I reach a real person? What do I do next? It really stinks to be left hanging.

4. Let your system break unknowingly. A few weeks ago, at least 3 companies had major disconnects in their phone trees. Companies like Best Buy, Circuit City, and Fidelity. “Press 1 to speak to a representative” would then disconnect me. Maybe it’s my phone karma, but even so here I am whining about it.

5. Hide clues about how to get to a person. Sure it saves bucks. But United’s automated man with the “folksy” lilting voice – which is SO a few years ago – often gets things wrong. I wonder what % of people who call have special circumstances like needing to fly multiple destinations. It takes forever before “he” tells you you can say AGENT to get to a person. That’s right – say “Agent” to get to a person when you call United! 

Thank you for listening.

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