Friday, 2 November 2012

Smooth Operator

When I used to work full time, I relied heavily on delivery services. Any working mother would understand how difficult it is to take care of 2 toddlers while working full time crunching numbers behind computers. I am guilty of taking an easy way of feeding my kids for fast food lunches.

Hotline delivery numbers of Mc Donald’s, Ayamas, Domino’s Pizza and Roast Kitchen were stored as important numbers in my handphone. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t feed them fast food everyday. My maid usually cooked for them but there were days when she didn’t have anything in the fridge and I didn’t have time to do grocery shopping because I had to work until late at night.

I just love delivery service.  It saves my time and makes my kids happy.  I love those automated call centers that can detect my phone numbers right away so I don't need to tell them my phone numbers and full address anymore.

As much as I love those delivery services, sometimes calling a call center can be a real pain especially when the operator (or they call it consultant nowadays) can't really speak proper English or Bahasa, mumbles thru the whole conversation and has bad hearing problems.

I recall my experience last week that made me fuming mad.

I called Mc Donald's delivery service of 1-300-131-300 at 10.30 am to order breakfast for my kids and I. Usually it took me a brief 5 minutes to order the regular Sausage Mc Muffins. Last week it took me more than 20 minutes...!! I could have just driven to the nearest Mc Donald's and come back. Unfortunately my car was in service thus leaving me stranded at home.

When I called that hot line, instead of the regular familiar human voice, it was replaced with answering machine. Then the normal "phone banking tone" followed :

Press 1 for Bahasa Malaysia and press 2 for English. I pressed 2.

After I pressed no 2, I prepared myself to speak to a human. To my surprise, I heard another recorded voice saying :
For delivery status press 1, to place an order press 2.

I pressed 2 again.

Then this machine 'talked' to me : Please call 03.3029402 (i can't remember the numbers) to place an order.

I rushed like a mad woman trying to get a pen to write down the number. Just when I finally found a pen, the machine said : You have entered invalid number. Thank you for calling Mc Donald's. Good Bye. AAAraaarrrgghhh.. (.....take a deep breath, calm your mind, imagine the good times and smile..... the voice from my Yoga instructor ringing in my ears)

So.... with a pen and a piece of paper, I repeated the whole process, calling 1-300-131-300 again..... not to order, but just to get the numbers.

Finally I got the numbers written down. Then I called the new phone number.

I was greeted by the machine "Welcome to Mc Donald's" with the jinggle.. and listening to the whole promotion of bla bla bla... I waited for a good 3 minutes until a lady picked up the line and talked to me.

After all the wishy wooshy good morning, welcome greeting, etc. finally I told her that I wanted to place an order. To my horror... she said," I am sorry mam, if you want to place an order, please call 1-300-131-300."

I was fuming mad... I told her that I did call that number but the machine "TOLD" me that I had to call this number. (Isn't it crazy that now a machine "tells" a human what to do instead of a human commands a machine? And I am even a crazier woman to obey that machine). She insisted that she couldn't take my order and I had to call the number again. I told her all the ordeals I had to go thru previously. She said," Yes, I understand but you should ignore the message when it says calling this number. You should press no 2 again instead."

How on earth should I know that..??? I wanted to scream at her but I knew that it's not her fault. She didn't implement the system and I was sure I was not the only one who got irritated. I told her to tell the manager that the call center system is really bad now. She acknowledged that. She told me that they changed the management and the new management changed the whole call center system.

I almost gave up but I tried my best to keep my cool... The words from my motivational speaker talked to me : "When you give up, actually you are very very close to success." At that time success meant having the Sausages Mc Muffins infront of me..!!

So I followed the instructions given. Called the 1-300-131-300 again.... press 2 again, then 2 again, then 2 again. Finally it worked...!!

I ordered the breakfast sets. Yipeeeee....

When the operator asked me if there was anything else she could help me, I told her to tell the manager how bad the new system was. I told her my 20 minutes experience of calling the hotline. She apologized and again said that they just had a change in management who changed the whole system of call center. I told her to tell the manager to try placing an order thru 1-300-131-300 himself to feel how the customers feel.

I pity the operators. I am sure not everyone is as "cool" as me ... ;). From their calm tones, I am sure they get screamed and scolded at very often because of this. It seemed like they had expected me to scream at them...!

This is the classic case of the front-line employees got the slaps because of the upper management's decision.

I hope the management gets my message and revert to the old user-friendly system. Sometimes I still believe in the saying : If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

That morning, somehow the Sausage McMuffin didn't taste as nice... The whole experience made me lost the appetite for it. At that time suddenly I craved for some Steamy Hot Nasi Kukus Ilham with tongue-numbing Sambal Belacan and spicy Kuah Kari.


  1. I get what you mean. I hate calling cinemas to book tickets, banks, insurance company etc. Really gets to my nerves with those "Please press 1 for English, press 2 for ......." By the time they finish I would had forgotten what to press. Missed those days where a human picks up the phone instead. Happy blogging to you and hope you have a great week ahead.

  2. Thanks for dropping by Aries.... Happy blogging to you too....:)


The Accidental Prisoners

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