Can We Just Get A REAL Person to Answer the Phone?

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Is it too much to ask to just get a real person on the phone to solve a problem? I really DESPISE calling a company, bank, hotel etc and getting an automated recording. Press 1 for this, press 2 for that. It’s usually not the option I need and I often get sent into some black hole of automated options. Usually, the only way to escape from that is to hang up or you may hear “I’m sorry you’re having trouble, goodbye.” Then there’s the classic “please listen to all options as they have recently changed.” I find that hard to believe that the options have recently changed every time I call.


Most of the time I will just press 0 to see if it will go straight to a human who will get me to the right person to solve my problem. Automated answering is not a time saver, it’s a time waster. Recently I needed to call the local toll roads organization about an error on my account. I called several times and the automated announcement said something like the call volume was too heavy and I’d have to call back at another time. There was not other option other than to call back. When I called back about half a dozen times over a 2 week period I got the same message. I emailed them twice through their automated system and got no response. I have not received any information about whether or not the problem is solved. What kind of customer service is that? They recently did away with all their cash toll booths which ended many jobs. It appears that the automated systems are handling the entire operation and there isn’t a human to be found. Is this what we are moving towards?

Another annoyance is when the automated system asks you for our account number, your PIIN, your first born etc and then when a human gets on the phone, they ask you the same things all over again. Why did the automated system ask for that info if you were just going to ask me again? Time wasting redundancy and proof that automated systems do more to waste time than save time.

I put a shorter version of this post on my Facebook profile and not one person said “I just love those automated options.” One person shared a website called where you can find a phone number for a company to actually get a human on the phone and bypass all the automated stuff.

While technology has significantly helped us, it has also hurt us in that so much automation just contributes to being disconnected as humans. I’m sure it saves the company big dollars to not have someone answering the phone and instead an automated system putting people in a waiting que with some recording saying your call will be answered in the order received. I just want to talk to a human who can solve my problem is that too much to ask? We could put so many people to work and make customer service so much better if there were real people to respond to us. It would also eliminate stress of those of us that have to navigate the myriad of options on an automated system.

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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