Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Unreasonables – “The Volume Is at the Maximum”

The other day I call my insurance company’s customer service number listed on the front of my insurance card. Logical, right? Wrong! The first message I get is, “If you are a policy holder, please dial this other 10-digit number for customer service.” I hang up and dial this other number. Then, using the 10 number keys on my phone, I enter my account number, date of birth, my favorite color and what I had for breakfast that morning, and then I am on hold for a while – a long while. I finally get a live person, and I am prepared to repeat my account number, date of birth, my favorite color and what I had for breakfast that morning once again. Instead, she asks me something, but the problem is, I can’t hear her. I quickly turn the volume up on my phone as high as it will go. Finally, I can hear her, but barely.

“How may I help you today?”
“Hi, I’d like to know how to check whether Doctor X is in the network.”
“…………………..” (Inaudible)
“I am sorry, if you would speak a bit louder, I’d appreciate it – I can barely hear you.”
“………………….” (Inaudible)
“Miss, I almost cannot hear you. Do you mind speaking up just a little?”
“……………can’t…………………………….. The volume on my headset is at the maximum.”

Well, let’s see, I’ve already upped the volume on my phone, and I am listening as hard as I can. The volume is at the maximum on her end – I get that, but why couldn’t the rep speak up? That would be an easy low-tech fix – almost too easy!

I thought customer service was supposed to solve problems and help customers, not explain the limitations of their technology...


  1. Oh, that is so annoying! And you can bet she was wearing some kind of headset with a little wire mic that was probably tucked way under her neck or as far away from her mouth as possible.

    Customer service must be such a hard field to work in. Those poor people have to put up with all of us! Yikes!

  2. just thinking of how many times i've been in a similar situation raises my blood pressure! my husband swears that all you have to do when you get an automated answering system is not say anything and eventually you'll get a human.