As I walk through the door, I place my rucksack on the breakfast counter, casually throw my car keys to one side and look to the kitchen table to see what post / mail I have waiting for me. My dad will be second into the kitchen, usually following the dog. She’s the one who greets me, my dad has the story to tell. His is a brief, cursory summary of the days events.
Today’s installment was the automated utilities meter reading service .. well, not so much automated for my dad, more them really.
You see, where I hail from, we have thick, deep accents. The kind of accent that is largely unintelligible to anyone else, unless you’re from Yorkshire.
And this so-called automated utilities meter reading service relies on the customer talking their details into the computer at t’other end.
Sounds simple enough, but my dad is less than impressed by such things, and almost immediately hung up.
He scrounged around and found a different telephone number, one with a human at the other end.
He explained his predicament (such that it was at the time) and the woman at the other end was more than happy to accept his details, which she had to ask him to repeat at least once before she was confident she’d got what she wanted from him.
Now, as I see it, this was chance gone begging for the utilities provider.
Sure, the utilities companies want to save the odd penny or fifty hither & thither. But to use some contrived artifact of modern technology that effectively dangles its white bits of accuracy, simplicity and customer satisfaction into the yawning, be-toothed gob of dense colloquial accents is just asking for trouble.
So what was wrong with: “Good evening! Please enter your account number by typing into the keypad now…” which would have been so much easier?
Sometimes, technology just drops its pants, bends over and veritably asks for someone to unsheathe the splintered plank of end-user technophobia and thrash them within an inch of their life…