The Customer Service Operator

Update: It just occurred to me that, since this is specific to our own Dep. of Ed., this falls under a Jersey Report, as well! I’m double-dipping! Enjoy this simultaneous Soapbox rant / Jersey Report.

I wanted to obtain my CE (Certificate of Eligibility), and the web site is completely navigation-impaired. It’s crowded, it has multiple drop-down menus on the main page… it’s a mess. I found the page on Licenses, but it doesn’t outright explain how to obtain the CE, which is the one question I have.

I call the customer service number around 11 AM. I get a message telling me that they answer the phone with live people between 2 – 5 PM, and I should consult the web site. The web site was the first place I checked, otherwise I wouldn’t be calling. I just have one question, which can clear up my concern and steer me in the right direction. One question, clarified by a person.

Two o’clock rolls along, and I call the number again. It’s busy. Busy! A government office has a busy signal! No more automated responses, no more call-waiting. Just a flat-out busy signal. I go back to work and proceed to try to reach them at 3:15 PM. It’s busy until 4 PM, when it rings, taking me back to the very automated response I got at 11. I hit the number for a live person, and it puts me in a line with the other people waiting to talk to a live person.

I proceed to wait for thirty minutes.

Finally, away from a computer and pen, I get the operator. She has the voice of a Jersey truck-stop waitress whose soul just fell in the deep fryer. She begain:

“New Jersey Department of Education Customer Service. How can I help you?”
– Good afternoon. I need to know the steps in order to obtain my CE.
“Did you check the web site?”
– Yes, I did. I can’t find the information I need, so I’m just…
“Go to ‘www…'”
– Wait, no. I went to the site. You can just tell me–
“State, dot NJ, dot US, backslash whole-word ‘education’…”
– Hang on, hang on. Backslash?
“Yeah. Backslash.”
– So it’s… State dot Gov?
“Dot GOV? …Jesus.”
– Listen, do you know how to get the CE or not? I just need to know this one thing.
“Go to the web site, click on the box marked Licenses, and find it there.”
– Give me the URL. You’re obviously not going to tell me anything I need to know. I was on hold for half an hour to get a link to a web site I’ve already been to.
“You and everybody else, sir.”
– Thanks a lot.
<click> (Yes, she hung up on me.)

Fuck. This. Woman.

Look, I get it, all right? You’re in customer service, so you’re talking to people who couldn’t figure it out for themselves. But try to help, for God’s sake. We all know about the internet. It’s not new. I could go to the site, but I have this question and you could have just given the answer to me.

And another thing: a busy signal? Are you for real? I happen to have it on good authority that the department actually only has one fax number. I went through an ordeal a few years ago, and they revealed this little tidbit to me. ONE fax number, for the ENTIRE state. The line was busy for hours, and you’d never know it because it’s a fucking fax machine.

And don’t bother asking– they don’t accept signed forms via e-mail, because (ready?) they don’t have an e-mail address. They told me they don’t have an e-mail address.

So while I just yesterday encountered this horrible freak on the phone, the whole department seems to have a serious deficiency. And given that these are the people who provide licenses for education, suddenly I understand why there are so many fucking idiots in this country.

~ by Crivelliman on February 25, 2009.

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