Monday, July 21, 2014

Your Call Is Important To Us - Saturday

‘I’m doing it. I’m doing it you automated arsehole!’
‘Hey what’s with the swearing?’ Asks my wife coming into the room with a pained look on her face. I could have an adult, level-headed discussion as to whether or not arsehole is actually a swear word, but I’m rather pre-occupied.

‘She’s asking again.’ I shout, feeling my blood pressure rising and getting that ringing in the ears which seems to last longer and longer, despite not having stood too close to a giant set of Marshall speakers for a decade or two.

‘Asking what?’ Says my wife placidly. Nothing inflames my ire more, when I’m trying to have a first-class rant, than someone speaking to me calmly - automated or not.

‘The f***ing taped bimbo.’ I shout in a voice an octave higher than my optimum pitch. She looks at me chidingly. ‘Yes. that was a swear word.’ I concede. ‘But these bastards are doing my head in.’
‘Do you want me to continue the call?’ Asks my wife condescendingly. That doesn’t help. Doesn’t help at all.

‘I’m pushing option one, when she says.’ I scream, hammering the phone’s keyboard like a psychotic woodpecker. ‘But nothing bloody well happens.’ 
‘Bloody isn’t a proper swearword.’ I counter, before she winds my spring any tighter. It probably is, but all reason left me about five minutes into the call, and I’ve yet to speak to a human being.

‘Have you tried the other phone?’ Suggests my wife, disappearing briefly then bringing me the wireless handset, the one that drops the signal randomly, just to add to my woes. I look at the old wired handset in my palm, then prod the hash key wildly over and over. I read somewhere if you keep pushing one button - can’t remember which one - you bypass the queuing system and get to speak to someone with a pulse.

The renewal notice for my house and contents, with a well known insurance company, came through today. Four pages of decipherable gibberish guaranteed to sap your will to live after two paragraphs. The only pertinent bit was the figure they would take from my debit card. No need to call us we’ll renew automatically for you said the missive helpfully.

Now I’ve helped flog worthless endowment policies, discredited payment protection plans, life cover and even piggin’ pet cover. The one thing I’ve learnt, apart from the tasty introducer’s commission you can generate, is that loyalty is for fools. The actuaries rely on your inertia and impenetrable documentation. The existing customer pays a mug punters premium, while the new client is wooed like a Premiership footballer at a night club.

‘So we don’t make a claim, and insure cars with these charlatans and they stuff the premium up fifteen percent.’ I told my wife witheringly before the call commenced. ‘It’s probably all the flooding.’ She answered wetly. Consequently, I was on a mission. The first blast of taped Vivaldi and the red-rag to a bull message that my call might be taped to help improve the customer experience suffered, the push button hell started.

‘Good morning Katy speaking. May I have your policy number?’ Asks a unusually Anglo-Saxon sounding voice. That throws me momentarily. I eventually parrot the number, after searching wildly for the information before my wife prods a finger at the string of digits in tiny print - the reading glasses are stalking me relentlessly. Then it’s my full name, address, postcode, date of birth, shoe size and preferred sexual position - for security purposes…

Estate agents get plentiful complaints, so I know being rude to a real person doesn’t help anyone’s cause. Controlled, polite yet with a faintly menacing undertone, is what I’m aiming for as I voice my displeasure.

‘I can apply a manual discount,’ says Katy pleasantly. ‘But the machine just generates the initial renewal.’ I bet it does.
‘This recognises your loyalty and no claims record.’ Continues Katy warmly, before reeling off a multi-paragraphed script of disclaimers and warnings that she must know nobody listens to.

End result: £40 less - and cheaper than two years ago.

Consider this a service - no need to ring me.


More advice on negotiating idiots can be found in the 'Agents Diary' property ebooks, download with links on the right. All formats, all regions, via free app on Amazon. I'm trying to help you here...

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