Reading the post about customer service over at Laurie Writes today started me thinking about a weird phenomenon: modern businesses that seem unfamiliar with modern technology.
I've had this happen: I call my phone company. I get cut off during "transfers" (are they really transferring, or are they hanging up? One begins to wonder) a couple times, so the next time I call, I get smart and say "Can I get your phone number so I can call you back in case I get cut off during the transfer?"
"Oh, we don't have direct lines."
Wait. You're the PHONE COMPANY. You have ALL the lines. Surely you can spare one for each of your employees. No.
Or say you call a business. Like the phone company. As soon as you get on the call, an electronic voice demands that you enter your 27-digit account number. Sooner or later, you are transferred to a real person. And what is the first thing they ask?
Right. The 27-digit account number. Sometimes I say "Well, I already entered that just now."
This will provoke one of two answers, depending, I believe, on the person's state of mind. They'll either say "I don't have access to that," at which point I stop myself from screaming "WHY NOT?" or "Oh, yes, here at is," at which point I stop myself from screaming "WHY DID YOU ASK FOR IT WHEN YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE IT THERE FOR EVERY SINGLE CALL?"
In any case: memo to Suebob - stop self from screaming.
My eye doctor took the cake though. His office is 40 miles away (in the town where I used to live), so I only go there when I have to. I needed a piece of paper from my file and I called to see if it could get faxed or emailed to me.
No. They do not fax things for customers.
Ok, then how about an email?
They do not have email.
This is what I said to that: "You...uh...um...hahaha....I don't...you...excuse me, I thought you said you don't have email?"
"NO, the doctor does NOT have email," said the receptionist in a snotty tone, as if I had asked about him having gonorrhea.
I started laughing. And laughing. And whooping. And chortling. The receptionist was not amused, but I couldn't stop. It just seemed so queer (in the old fashioned sense of the word), like refusing to change your clocks because you don't believe in Daylight Savings Time (yes, I met that person. Another story).
That's right. My eye doctor, in 2011, does not have an email account. I'm thinking if I told him I was Bill Gates with free Disneyland tickets, he might suddenly figure out how to log on to Hotmail, but until then, to help his patients, no. Cannot do it.
Which is why my new eye doctor is both closer to home AND lives in this century. Yeesh.