It's just my desk, so there's no telling what you might find on it.

Please Press 1

Press 1

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Okay, Gotta vent– just a little. Seriously– just a little.

I know people have been engaged in this conversation forever, and I’ve been part of the pack. You know what I’m talking about… The infamous automated recording that seems to always say, “For English, please press one.”  Yep, it has annoyed me more than once. I usually grunt, and continue on. But, for some reason, that very familiar message has really been clawing at my backside lately.

Yes, some people have taken this topic way over the edge, and a specific race or two got caught in the crossfire. I get the irritation. I REALLY do.  Sometimes, I want to lash out, and just go off on someone because I am sooooo sick of having to ‘press 1′ for English when I live in a country that has English as its primary language. Yes, it’s irritating (beyond belief), but it just takes a second. Right?

Okay, let’s face it… Our friendly neighborhood Spanish speakers did not come to the U.S., and then go to our utility companies, our phone companies, our banks, our doctor offices (ok- you get the idea) and say, “Hey! Change your business’ automated message so that it makes all English speaking people press 1 for English!”  I promise! They didn’t do it!

I remember when the only language option was for Spanish speakers to press 2.  Sometimes, that still happens, but it’s rare. Our Spanish-speaking neighbors aren’t the problem– our U.S. companies (regardless of their location) are the problem. They are the ones who have done this tongue-biting, head-grabbing, irritating thing. Put blame where blame belongs… Blame them!

On another note, as I mentioned above, it really isn’t a big deal to take a second to “press 1”. That isn’t what really annoys me. What makes me want to throw my phone through a cement wall is pressing button after button and never getting to an actual person. UGH! If you this or that, press this or that! I also hate it when I can’t press “0” to bypass all of it. Unfortunately, I have also had to deal with finally getting to someone, and then I can’t understand a single, spouted word he or she says. Are you kidding me?! Now, we all know why this happens, but I’m not going to climb onto that box right now.

Hey companies– Big and small alike! I don’t care if you’re supporting this country by having your customer service departments here in the U.S., or you’re contracting out to other countries, GET WITH THE PROGRAM! Stop putting your customers through the gauntlet while we’re just trying to either get a resolution for a simple problem, or solve a bigger issue. We know it’s just a stall– making us jump through tons of hoops while you get an open operator, or find enough people to work the shift. You are not “improving service or our customer service experience” by making us press 1, then 3, then 1, then 2, then 4, then 2, and then “*” to get back to the main menu. Yes, sometimes we even have to go back and start over (or give up) because your options take us on a tour that has nothing to do with our immediate issue. Sigh.

Come on! Make life just a little easier for your customers! Realize that you are where you are only because of us, and we deserve better.

While we wait on companies to wake up (taps desk & whistles), you can check out a site that’s dedicated to taking some of the sting out of this situation. **Please Press 1 is taking on the call center world, and they may be able to ease your next customer service call experience.

No, this isn’t a life-altering thing. There are many more important things going on in our lives and in the world. But, with all of the pressure we deal with in this life- the bills, the job (or lack thereof), car repairs, etc., wouldn’t getting rid of this one little thing make a huge difference? It would for me. It would be nice to call a company, get right through to a rep, solve the issue, then hang up and go on with the rest of my day. Instead, I get stressed out just thinking about what I’m about to go through. Sigh again.

At some point in the future, maybe one company will change, and other companies will follow suit. In the mean time… For English, please press 1. 🙂

What do you think?

*Are you interested in getting the above keypad image on a t-shirt, hoodie, or sticker?  Well, you can!  Check it out!

**Please Press 1: I have not used this service yet, though I am considering it. I just happened to remember them while writing this post. They are based in the UK, but are now available in the U.S.

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5 responses

  1. To be perfectly honest, I never understood why people get so upset over pressing 1 for English. It’s not like it takes an exorbitant amount of effort. The U.S. also does not have an official language. It’s true that nationally, English is the most common, but it’s not the case in some areas.

    What does irritate the hell out of me is when I want to talk to a real, live person and I have to go through 5,000 automated lists before I can talk to someone . . . or if they never let me get to a live person at all. If I wanted all the automated shit, I could do everything online!

    Anyway, just my two cents. 🙂

    Like

    February 2, 2014 at 6:05 am

    • No, English isn’t the official language in the U.S., but it is what’s most widely spoken and for the longest. In my edit (which I haven’t added– not enough coffee yet), I wrote about those hoops you commented about. Oh, my. Don’t even get me on that one- at least until I finally update the post. Ick! Not even then. 🙂

      Like

      February 2, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      • It just came up in the game Abby, Kes, and I were playing last night . . . 20% of of Americans don’t speak English at home (this, obviously, doesn’t mean they don’t speak English at all). While, that’s definitely still the minority, I think it’s still pretty damn high. . . . I think part of the reason I never understood the “EVERYONE MUST SPEAK ENGLISH” crowd is because growing up in a city, I’ve always been surrounded by people who spoke different languages.

        Onto the point at hand though . . . . . When I can’t get through to a real live person, I start yelling at my phone (especially if I haven’t had my meds). After the 5 billionth “please press blah blah blah” a couple months ago, I yelled, “Oh my god!” into the phone and the operator said, “I think you would like to speak to a representative. If this is correct, please say yes.” . . . . . Of course, on another occasion, after pressing 0 five thousand times and saying, “I’d like to speak to a representative,” the operator told me, “we are unable to assist with that request.” After doing it again, she said, “good-bye” and hung up on me.

        Oh, and regarding the language thing . . . I DO completely agree that if you press 1 for English, you should get someone that speaks coherent, fluent English. Otherwise, that pretty much defeats the purpose. An accent is fine . . . . non-understandable is not! Of course, I think I get more native English speakers who can’t speak coherently than non-English speakers :p

        Like

        February 3, 2014 at 10:57 am

        • Yeah, absolutely there are many areas/communities that speak another language as their primary language- especially at home, and especially the heads of the families that moved here when they were already adults. These families and communities are all over this country, and the numbers are growing. Melting pot. Right? (Part of me hates that phrase.) But, English is still the primary language here, and most of the time, I believe it should be official. As a side note, I have to say that I love those little communities and their cultural differences. I really enjoy meeting people from different cultures, and learning from them. It’s an awesome experience.

          I had to laugh at what you wrote because I remember my daughter laughing hysterically when I was yelling at the phone and screaming, “Oh my god! Are you serious! Are you freakin’ kidding me!!” Your comment is so on point! You even reminded me of some of my experiences. Man, I agree with you about your last point. The ability to actually understand the other person is key. I remember speaking to a supervisor from India who was so easy to understand, but the native English-speaking woman before him was another story.

          Thanks so much commenting! I’ve enjoyed this, and I’ve missed chatting with you!

          Like

          February 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm

          • I don’t think English should be the primary language. I don’t think that would serve any purpose. It becomes a majority/minority thing . . . just because *most* people speak English, should we ignore the needs of the minority?

            I think it’s beneficial and important for those who come here to eventually learn English, yes. But I don’t think we should restrict their access to any number of things because they’re not there yet. It takes time to learn a language. There are also plenty of instances when people know and can speak English, but when dealing with someone on the phone, it’s probably much easier and much more efficient to talk to someone in their native tongue . . . . especially when, as we have both pointed out, so many native English speakers can’t seem to speak English!

            Anyway, I’ve totally rambled enough . . . . and thank you for the discussion as well. I’ve totally missed you!

            Like

            February 5, 2014 at 3:38 am

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