I often wondered about those “Live On-Line Chat Rooms” that are available on web sites. You know, those little boxes that show up on the computer screen when you’re trying to get information from a web site but it just isn’t cooperating? So you get frustrated. You want an answer to your dilemma right away, but you’ll be darned if you’re gonna call them and wait on line for 20 minutes only to get a canned recorded voice or even worse, someone in Bangladesh or Moravia whose command of the English language rivals your knowledge of Swahili. So you take the chance and click on the On-Line Operator – that dream girl (usually), who is going to solve whatever technical problem you have – live and in person! Magic!
Last week, I needed a Live Operator desperately. That ol’ magic. I’d had just about enough of trying to sign into RCI, when I noticed the little Live Operator Chat box winking at me. Apparently it knows when you’ve hit the boiling point. Since I don’t interpret either Bengali or Moravian-accented English, I figured the typed English from a live person would fit the bill. So I clicked on the box and checked in.
A minute later, the interaction began! “You are next in queue… Estimated wait time is 0 hours 1 minutes 29 seconds.” Given the English in that sentence, I was beginning to think that I might have a Bengali on the line. But less than 0 hours 1 minutes and 29 seconds later, another message popped up. “Stephanie E. has joined this session!” I was in – and texting with a live person! She typed “Hi, this is Stephanie E. How may I help you?”
So I typed out my problem.
A few seconds later, Stephanie responded. “Thank you. One moment please.”
I waited for almost five minutes. No problem though. After all, she probably had to do some research on this. And maybe she needed to use the ladies room or blow her nose. But Stephanie finally returned. “I don’t see that you have a RCI Weeks account set up. Have you deposited Pollard Brook Resort in the past with RCI?” So I explained the situation with my typed response.
And Stephanie came back…a few more minutes later. “You can contact us at 877-968-7476 to have a Weeks account set up and associated with your RCI Points account.” And she proceeded to list the hours they would be available, not only for my time zone, but in Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Caribbean.
I was a bit disappointed with Stephanie by now. She was obviously sloughing off her work to other people, with whom I would have to wait until tomorrow to speak, since it was past the calling hours. Although I now knew I could contact them from anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. But I just cheerfully said, “Okay, Stephanie. Thanks!”
To which she responded, “You’re welcome. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”
“Not unless you can make the current time be before 8 p.m. Eastern Time!” I jokingly responded. I find it’s always good to end a conversation with the other person smiling.
But Stephanie did not appear to be amused. Her response: “I’m sorry. I am unable to assist with that. Thank you for contacting RCI.com!” And she signed off.
That odd response to a joke sealed the deal for me. Stephanie wasn’t a real person at all – she was a computer, programmed to respond to a wide assortment of questions. I was tempted to call her back and ask if she could curl my toe hairs for me – just to confirm my suspicions if she also answered that question with “I’m sorry. I am unable to assist with that.” But chances are I would probably get another canned program person – probably Ernie P. or Lester F. Or maybe even John Doe. And I wouldn’t want any of them curling my toe hairs, real or not…
So my advice to you if you need assistance with a web-based frustrating moment. Call the live person at the call center. If you start getting the “Press this button, press that button” run-around, just press 0. Someone always comes on the line when you press 0. Leave the Live On-Line Chat Room to the amateurs. Pooh to you, Stephanie E.!
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