Frustration at 300 dollars an hour

Posted On: Monday - November 30th 2020 10:59PM MST
In Topics: 
  Curmudgeonry  Artificial Stupidity  Customer Care

I had to think of it this way: This one health plan website I had to visit in order to simply check off a few things and go through some questions was going to put at least $300 on my "account". It would have been stupid not to make this effort for what will likely be $300 I would have to pay out of pocket otherwise. However, I'd been dreading doing this thing for the same reason as usual - I was pretty sure I'd run into a frustrating quagmire of website bullcrap and end up on a phone tree.

I understand the idea of using software and the web to avoid collection all kinds of paper forms about this and that from hundreds or thousands of people. The problem is that every damn "program" of any sort not only has to have a web page, but one must register, have an "account", then log in to get even the smallest thing done. I understand the need for security too. In this case, were the account part of the regular company site, requiring a sign in, or even using the login/pw again, I could handle it better.

I will write another extremely curmudgeonly post about passwords, and they are the basic problem. I just knew that whatever login (I didn't even know how the login was formatted) and PW I'd used a year or two ago were long lost to me. Half the work in doing business on-line nowadays is in finding out how TF to get going!

Sure enough, though I got the login straight finally, there was no way I was going to guess the PW right. (Yeah, I'll get to that stuff in another post which will explain my problem better, I promise.) The security questions for a lost PW? Yeah, right, I didn't give right answers anyway, but I could no longer remember my best fake ones. On to the phone it was.

This was the amazing stroke of luck: I listened to the first "blah blah" coming through after the phone answered and mashed two "0"s. That's all it took to get a live Filipina girl on the blower!* Things were looking up.

The first problem we ran into was that even after all kinds of other information, she had two more questions, of which I'd better get one right to be identified. It was close, let me tell you. Then, the website that I really needed to do my little questionnaire and such on was not the exact same thing as the one I needed to get on first. It had it's OWN login and PW, she said. Oh, man! I had to vent my frustration at this, which was exactly why I'd put off doing this to right before the deadline, requiring this last-minute call to customer "care".

I made sure to tell the nice young lady that I wasn't at all mad at her, just at the stupidity of all these levels of logging into shit. She got me a new PW that should match some other one, till they make me change it. Luckily, the login to the first part got me into the 2nd part, something the girl on the phone had been wrong about. That was it. 300 bucks.

All this messing around only took about an hour, all told. Easy money, right? It just didn't seem so.

* You, the Peak Stupidity readers, are now privy to this information. Imagine how much money one would pay in 1980 to dial up the Philippines for a 20 minute call! I'm telling you that now you just dial 00 to get (what I imagined was) a cutie in the Philippines to help with (almost) all your needs. If you have an out-of-control fire in your house, say, or a home invader who is not yet dead, but 9-1-1 is busy, just dial 00 and there'll be someone to help! Maybe you see an old woman in curlers down on the ground writhing around and saying something that you think means "I've fallen, and I can't get up" in Tagalog. Simply dial 00!

Friday - December 4th 2020 8:20AM MST
PS: Alarmist, I never had that kind of money for 900- number calls, back when they were the thing. Perhaps I could find 4 or 5 technical issues each and every day and then dial up the Philippines looking for "the one" who would talk dirty to me about my secret questions. Oh, I know, I could answer my secret questions with some lewd things. That would get her going, and hopefully we could further the relationship from there.

It's like speed dating but cheaper. Call it Tech Support dating.
Friday - December 4th 2020 8:16AM MST
PS: Mr. Blanc - the OTHER Adam Smith on price fixing:

He maintains that price fixing is bound to occur when new business start-ups are stifled. (My wording, but what I get out of the paper.)
The Alarmist
Thursday - December 3rd 2020 3:58AM MST
“Imagine how much money one would pay in 1980 to dial up the Philippines for a 20 minute call!”

Before the internet, 900 numbers at $3.99 per minute would have been the route to getting a filipina cutie on the line.

Customer Service in the Age of Oligarchy: “You are the customer ... you should be glad you’re served at all.”
Wednesday - December 2nd 2020 9:12PM MST
PS It’s actually existing capitalism. What did Adam Smith say? The first thing that the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker do is get together and conspire to fix prices.
Wednesday - December 2nd 2020 6:53PM MST
PS: Just a quick addition, Neanderthal: I met someone who worked in CS for lost baggage for an airline one time. She told me they work 6 hour shifts. I can see that as a long one when you have pretty much everyone who calls up pissed off from the get-go. At least she worked in the US and got some decent pay (been there a long time, as I recall).
Wednesday - December 2nd 2020 6:51PM MST
PS: I understand your point but just don't agree with the terminology, Neanderthal. I guess if you'd just written "Big Biz" instead, I'd agree. The crony capitalism we have is what makes the big guys come out ahead. Competition, say some small outfits that could do a fine job with customer service with some heart by the management, is stifled by regulation and taxes.

I understand the nature of cable-internet makes for a natural monopoly. I've worked for businesses of all sizes, from me, 4 of us, 20, up to over 100,000, and it's the big ones that are penny-wise and pound foolish. However, with a monopoly, I guess, who cares? T hey can quit caring and push the CS group to the max.

Per Tucker Carlson (in his "Ship of Fools", which I have a 3-part review of) and plenty others, are elites don't give a damn about Americans. That manifests itself in both bad customer service from Time Warner along with bad treatment of those people themselves from TW.
Wednesday - December 2nd 2020 12:05PM MST
PS If people knew where these call centers were, there’d be a lot more “postal” incidents.
Wednesday - December 2nd 2020 5:28AM MST
PS sorry for the unneeded pain you had to suffer but what can I say, it's capitalism in action: keep cost low and profits high. That was why you ended up talking to a sweet-voiced Filipina half way around the world, or maybe an Indian ex-sex-goddess a little further east. But you must understand they have no choice: they have mouths to feed, and the capitalists have profits to make. I once exploded on a guy (I didn't know where) when I called and lodged a complaint against Time-Warner but I stopped immediately and apologized to him and said that I wasn't mad at him but at the company. Hic, I felt sorry for him and people like him who slave for the capitalists: how much abuse do they have to take every day just to put food on the tables for their children?
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