I recently tried to reach out to my bank about an unauthorized charge on my debit card. I couldn't remember the phone number for my local bank, and so I tried calling the 1-800 number. A recording came on the line asking me to press the number zero for the operator. I did that and I got another recording asking me to hold on for the next available representative, because due to COVID-19, longer hold times existed. After that I waited and waited for someone to pick up that line. But the same recording kept playing over and over again asking for my forgiveness at having to hold so long, but all operators were busy. To my frustration, I was forced to end the call.
We live in a new world, pandemic or not, of automation. This new world of automation has dissolved real communications. When we want to talk to each other by phone, we often have to listen to an IVR (Internal Voice Response System). The IVR is programmed to ask specific information, which is then routed to the appropriate customer care representative.
If we need information about a government program, a recording comes on and instructs us to go to a website and get our answers there because the questions are based on the most requested questions. So what happens to us if we don't have a common question?
Finally, take the case of when we have to get in touch with our doctor or dentist in an emergency. The calls are answered by a recording, and we're told we need to call 911 or go to the local emergency room if the call is an emergency.
Does this whole "Brave New World" theory make any sense to you. If it doesn't, your feelings are well shared. Let's take a positive look at this problem.
These particular programs were targeted to free up the chaos of the world and free us to do better things with our time. Large companies were forced to hire more employees to keep their businesses running. Government agencies were answering the same questions over and over again, tying up phone lines. By posting the questions and answers online, they found themselves able to answer questions that were more complex in a lesser amount of time.
Doctors and dentists were getting so many calls during their practice hours and that left them less time to spend with their patients. True emergencies were handled faster if the patients needed critical help.
Wall and desk telephones have been replaced with cell phones, typewriters have been replaced with laptops, and gas guzzling cars have been replaced with hybrid cars and technology has changed our old ways of doing things.
It is now time for us to catch up with the world, and we can do so with our children and grandchildren. Take the opportunity to bring yourself up to date. Buy a computer, or a cell phone and challenge yourself to grow. You can do it.