Monday, March 24, 2008

The Phone Tree Mystery

I don't like phone trees, and neither do you. No one does. I could write here, "I'm one of those people who always hits "0" to speak to a live human being," but you are, too, and so is everyone else -- so no one can really say he or she is "one of those people."

But here's what I really don't get about phone trees -- they ask you a million questions about your account, the type of service, your shoe size, immunization history, etc. and then when you finally get to speak to a real person (your goal from the beginning) they ask it all back to you anyway. It seems like all those annoying questions and prompts haven't really gotten you anywhere.

I don't get it.


Matt said...

I have often wondered the same thing. I wonder if they just ask you those questions to distract you from being on hold.

The New Englander said...


Great point -- distracting people in order to sustain morale is an oldie but a goodie...military officers have been doing it since ancient times!

I also wonder if the phone trees discourage non-serious callers...not so much adolescent pranksters (as modern technology has made the prank call a dying art), but maybe lonely senior citizens who call and just tie the lines up for hours.

Either way, you're right -- the endless prompts do nothing for the customer, but somehow the companies must see some method to the madness..