DEAR ABBY: You wrote that you know of no one who actually enjoys transacting business with a computer.
Well, you do now; I am one.
Maybe it's a sign of my generation (I'm 26), but I think automated telephone systems are fun. If I had a choice between getting a person or a computer to take care of my business, I'd choose the computer every time. It's very efficient, and I don't have to worry about being put on "hold" or dealing with a rude customer service representative.
I realize that not everyone can adapt to this type of technological leap, but I appreciate getting lots of information without saying a word. However, I think businesses need to accommodate customers who prefer to talk with a real person. Sign this ... PRESS 5 TO REPEAT
DEAR PRESS 5: Perhaps it's generational, but I confess that I am among those who become confused when I hear prerecorded instructions. However, more people wrote favoring automated systems than knocking them. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I have a couple of thoughts after reading "Frustrated Fran"'s letter about automated answering systems. Automated systems are, admittedly, far more economical than employing a slew of live operators full time.
There are two ways companies can relieve the frustration of voice mail. The first is used by many firms who offer the caller the opportunity to speak to a live operator by pressing "0" if he/she cannot figure out how to get a satisfactory result from the menu options.
The second solution is one I have encountered less often, but is a real help. The recording gives an estimate of how long it will be before callers get through to the party or extension they seek. This provides the option of hanging up and calling again if the wait is longer than desired.
By utilizing either of these options, a company can markedly reduce the frustration that sometimes results from an encounter with a computer. I hope that corporate America will take this to heart. -- BURKE BELKNAP, OCEANSIDE, CALIF.
DEAR BURKE: At the risk of appearing cynical, let's not hold our breath until corporate America feels it deeply enough in the pocketbook to take it to heart.