Thursday, April 7, 2011

Press 1 to read

They say you should never write a letter when you're angry. And I suppose they are right. If I have to write a letter to my bank right now, it would drip venom. It would explode upon opening, or at the least burst into flames.

I received a new card from my bank today, with instructions telling me to call them for the PIN. As easy as A-B-C, I thought, and dialled. It was 10 PM, and I figured I would finish the call by 10:15 and could go to bed by 10:30.

Calling IVR numbers must be put up there as one of the most irritating things in the world, along with nosy people and loudmouths. It was the bank I was calling, so before giving me the option to press 1 to do this or 2 to do that, the voice went on and on about the products they’re offering and what phishing is and some other stuff. I wanted to shout “I know all this!!” but could do nothing but wait. Then finally I began the pressing game, starting with what language I preferred and what products I hold and so on. I had to press, I think, 4 numbers in order to reach a person.

First guy I spoke to was okay, helpful, told me to go back to the main menu and press this and that number and finally I would be connected to the PIN people who would then ask me few verification questions and then I could choose my new PIN. He was very anxious about the call, asking me if he was helpful, if he answered all my questions, provided all the information I needed etc etc. I know the call was recorded and that it could affect his salary, so I praised him to the high heavens.

Let’s cut a long story short. There were IVR problems, call transfer problems, being kept on hold for ages until I learnt all the special interest rates they offered for certain periods of time and listened to how patient I was and how the call would be answered shortly by a phone banking officer and how important my call was, and at around 10:30 I finally got through to a girl.

She asked me how she could help; I said I needed a PIN for my new card. First off, I didn’t like her voice, too loud and too flighty. I know I'm being unjust, but let me go on. Asked me for my card number, and when I duly recited it she asked “This is your number ONLY?” I replied yes, it was my number ONLY. Then she told some story that the IVR couldn’t generate my entire card number to their department and had given them only the last four digits so she couldn’t be entirely sure it was the correct number, because there was no authentication from the IVR.

 It was funny, really. I had gone through the whole process of entering my card number, and when I finally got through to her she asked me some verification questions which was impossible if my card number was not made available to them. After verifying that yes it was really me she was speaking to, and not my watchman’s wife, she proceeded to tell me that she couldn’t help with the PIN generation because the IVR didn’t provide her the whole sixteen digits. Hurray!!

But, she did offer to transfer me to the main menu, and I could start again from step 1. I said I don’t want to do that because I don’t wait to wait for another 45 minutes until I spoke to someone. She said she understood (which I seriously doubted) and then started to explain the whole IVR thing, that only the last 4 digits was routed to them. I started questioning the security of their banking system. She had no reply and offered to transfer me to the main menu again. I said no. She was at her wit’s end, and said she would transfer me to her colleague who could help me. Listened to irritating music again for a few minutes, and finally someone came on the line.

I discovered, to my dismay, that it was the same girl again, this time saying that she was unable to transfer my call anywhere, not to the main menu, nor to her colleague’s number, because she had some “technical issues” with her phone. Complete bakwaas. I then did what any irate customer would do: I asked to speak to her supervisor.

The supervisor was a soft spoken lady who introduced herself nicely. She said they were trying to sort out my problem but had some telephone issues and blah blah blah. She offered to call me back immediately on my phone and they would connect me to the main menu, I said no. She then asked me to pick the time and said that they would call, and again I said no, I don’t want to receive calls from you. She then started explaining the whole IVR thing again which by that time I was a leeetle bit tired of hearing. I interrupted and asked if there was any other way I could get the PIN without having to waste an hour of my beauty sleep by calling them. She was delighted with the question and said she could send it to me by post. Finally, a solution!

So we followed with the usual I'm-sorry-I-was-rude-it’s-been-a-long-day and we-are-sorry-for-the-inconvenience-caused-to-you-is-there-anything-else-I-could-help-you-with and I hung up. It was 11 PM.

Some people rant and rave and shout and scream when they get angry. I don’t do all that drama. I am the bitterly sulking type. And one reason I don’t scream is I get weepy when I'm angry. Sad, isn’t it? Being wronged makes me weepy, being accused or criticised (even when it’s entirely my fault) brings tears to my eyes. But for that particular phone call I wished I was the shouting type. Then I would immediately forget everything and wouldn’t have to write this sad post and make you remember all your bad IVR experiences.

It is 12:15 AM.


  1. Avan mak teh nuaih ve a. Keini bank ah chuan 800 number min pek (card a an paste) kha kan dial a, last 4 digit of SS number min zawt a, a tawk der asin.

  2. Nidangah chuan heti em em hi a ni ngai bik lo, nizan khan chu kan inbe fuhlo laklawh ve hrim hrim a ni. Mutchhuak bawk si nen kha chuan thin kha a rim hma bik bawk a.