The Phone Call to Customer Service

You need to talk to customer service of a business over an issue you are having with their service, billing, or whatever other issue you might have. You call the customer service telephone number. Here is one scenario of what you may experience…


“Thank you for calling XYZ company! We look forward to servicing your needs. Please pay close attention as our menu options have recently changed.” This is the first time I am calling this company, so why are they saying this? Or, maybe you have called numerous times over the last five years, and the phone message over those five years has not changed…Continuing on…

“Did you know that you can access your account online? Just go to, to set up your online access so that you can access your account information and pay your bill online! So that we can get you to where you need to go, please enter your account number now followed by the pound sign.” You do not have your account number with you…so what do you do, you press -0- to get to the operator. Instead you hear, “That is an invalid request.” And the opening message repeats from the beginning.

Waiting to get through – Photo from The Telegraph – Photo by Getty

You hang up, hunt up your account number and you call back. Again you hear the above, and this time you enter your account number followed by the pound sign. And this takes you to the next level of their phone system service.

“If you know your parties extension, please enter it now. For the company directory, please press nine now. If you would care to place an order or to talk to a sales representative, please press one. If you are calling about an order you have already placed, please press two. If you are having a problem with an order you have received, please press three. If you have a question regarding your billing, please press four. If you need to change your account information, please press five. If you need technical support, please press six. If you need to speak to someone regarding something else, please stay on the line and an operator will assist you shortly. You can bypass this message in the future by pressing the star key on your telephone.” Five minutes gone and really, am I am going to remember that in the future? Make a mental note and hope that you remember next time.

Let’s say that you need to talk to someone about your bill. So you press the number four key on your phone. It rings again three times. Now you go into the another loop of the phone system. Next you hear, “Please enter your account number followed by the pound sign.”

The phone system then reads back to you the account number and asks, “If this is correct, please press one. If it is not please press two.”

You press one. The next prompt wants to verify who you are. “Please enter the phone number associated with this account followed by the pound sign.” Now which number did I give them? The home phone number or the cell phone number? You enter the home phone number. “We do not recognize that number. Please enter the phone number associated with this account followed by the pound sign.”

One other choice left, you enter the cell phone number. “Thank you. Please enter the zip code of the billing address followed by the pound sign.” You enter your zip code. By now you have been on the phone for 10 minutes and you still have not reached a live person.

Their phone system then announces your account balance and tells you that your payment is now due. Next the system tells you, “If you need anything further, please remain on the line and someone will be with you shortly.” And the elevator music that is too loud kicks in. Then a voice comes on the line and you think, “Finally!”

The voice however tells you this: “We are experiencing unusually high call volume. Please hold and someone will be with your shortly.” You listen to this message 10 times before a person finally does answer, and then what do they ask you? “May I have your account number please?” Mind you that you are already having a hard time because you cannot get past the accent!

What? I entered this number already using the keypad on the telephone, so why does the person not have this information? You give them the account number and accidentally hit the pound sign. They grumble and ask you what the issue is and then they tell you that you need to speak to someone else.

Without waiting for you to say anything, they transfer your call. You hear their phone system again prompt you for your account number followed by the pound sign. Again the system asks for the phone number and zip code. You enter the information again. Again you are told about the really high call volume and you patiently wait, and wait and wait…

Why do companies do this? Because they want to frustrate you so much that you hang up and just pay the damn bill! Do they really want to provide you with customer service? No, not really. Does this frustrate you? Please let us know your experiences with a phone call to customer service!


About wrantandwrave

Just a pair of folks who have something to say...
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One Response to The Phone Call to Customer Service

  1. PJ says:

    I’m sure we have all run into this scenario, and it is MOST frustrating to boot. I strongly agree with the last paragraph – which I believe is the real goal of customer service anymore – to frustrate you, to not resolve concerns, to give an appearance of caring. When they fulfill their cutomer mis-service their company gets to keep your money, which is all they want in the first place.

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