Down the Docks

December 13, 2005

Virgin Trains’ Automated Call Handler

Filed under: Misused, Rubbish Technology — ealing @ 6:09 pm

I called up their ticket line, and was answered by an automated call handler. The voice recognition is super-sensitive, and it frequently asked me to repeat myself when someone walked past in the corridor.

I was asked for my journey details, plus the number of people travelling and details of any railcards held. The whole process is reasonable for an automated handler, but slow for a person. Apparently all of this would help the representative to find the right ticket for me. Hmmph, when I were a lad, and worked in GNER’s call centre, we found and entered our caller journey details ourselves, and paid GNER for the privilege*.

When the automated handler finished, I assumed I’d be put on to a real actual person, but no, I still had to wait in a queue. After a minute or so in the queue, I was greeted by a real person, who asked me for my journey details. I queried if they didn’t have the details in front of them. No, I was told, it doesn’t work at the moment.

They hadn’t switched the automated handler off, either because they didn’t know how or couldn’t be bothered. They wasted my time and theirs.

* Slight exaggeration.


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