Can I Help You? Obviously Not.

HiA recent attempt to get an online answer to a very simple question saw me directed to a page similar to the illustration. You know, you type your question in a box and the ‘respondent’ sends automated answers. Fifteen minutes and an avalanche of oaths later, I gave up and wrote the company a letter (yes, on paper, in an envelope, with a stamp – younger readers may wish to ask older ones to explain this method of communication). I wasn’t asking a bank about my account but, in essence, what follows is not too far away from the experience.

Hi, welcome and thank you for using our helpline. Before we start, have you checked our FAQ to see whether your question has been dealt with there?

Yes.

OK. The recent most frequently asked questions are:

What is my current balance?
How can I transfer money from an account in Nigeria?
How can I link my sick grandmother’s account to my own?
How long would I have to wait after her death to claim her outstanding credit balance?
What is my reference number for tax purposes?
Is there another reference number I can use?

Does any of these cover your query?

No.

OK. Can you tell me in a few words why you are calling?

I have lost my account’s reference number and am unable to log in.

Thanks. Am I right in saying the query concerns your account?

Yes.

I’m sorry, but in order to answer questions on specific accounts, we first need you to enter your reference number.

But I don’t have it. It’s lost.

I’m sorry, could you repeat your question please?

I have no reference number. I’ve lost it. I can’t log on.

Just to be clear, do you want help with:

Logging on?
Your reference number?
Lost property?
Your current account?
Another account?
Our shareholders’ protection policies?
None of the above?

My reference number.

OK. Reference numbers are required for logging into your online account. Does this answer your question?

No.

OK. Just to be clear, do you want help with:

Logging on?
Your reference number?
Lost property?
Your current account?
Another account?
Our shareholders’ protection policies?
None of the above?

None of the above.

OK. Would you like to continue? Please choose one of the following options:

No. Thank you.
Yes. I need more help.
Yes. Please give me some other choices.
Yes. I want to ask a new question.

Yes. I need more help.

OK. Please enter your reference number.

I don’t bloody have one!!!!! That’s the point!!!!

OK. Would you like to continue? Please choose one of the following options:

No. Thank you.
Yes. I need more help.
Yes. Please give me some other choices.
Yes. I want to ask a new question.

Yes. Please give me some other choices.

OK. Does your query refer to:

The balance in your account?
Your credit rating?
Potential investments in fish-farming in the Outer Hebrides?
How Greece’s financial situation might influence your future choices of investments?
How to create an ethically sound portfolio?
How to create a real portfolio?
The advantages of being a resident of the Cayman Islands?
No questions asked, tax-efficient accounting?
None of the above?

None of the above.

I’m sorry, could you repeat your question please?

What’s the point, dickhead?

OK, just to be clear, you asked about a dickhead. Do you mean:

The Manager?
The I.T. consultant?
The web designer?
Our chief accountant?
The Governor of the Bank of England?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer?

And so on, and so on… Who designs these things?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.