But while I was at work I got a call on the cell from a doctor's office, leaving me a voicemail concerning a billing question. Nothing too serious - I think they were mixing up two sets of visits I made to the same hospital, some for my migraines and some for my worker's comp injury to my hands where I had to have some nerve conductivity tests done. They didn't know how to bill it, I guess because they're confusing which visits I was supposed to pay for and which I wasn't supposed to pay for because it was on the company's dime.
Not a problem. Very simple solution here...if it's my head, I pay, and if it's my hands, they pay. I can leave that much on a return voicemail after hours, as well as some contact info just in case. Not exactly rocket surgery here, folks. Instead, I get an answering service. Okay, that's not a problem either...these guys apparently are willing to pay extra for better service, so that should make things easier. Right?
You'd think so, at least. Person I talked to said that she had no clue what was going on. Said she didn't know the people I mentioned by name or even what office I was talking about. Didn't even know where in the world this place was located. But she said that she was with an answering service, and reassured me that her job was to answer questions for people.
I told her that I just needed to leave some contact info for [person] at [hospital]. I could do that on a recording if she could forward me to a voicemail. That's the part where she admitted that she was outsourced and didn't even know the phone number or city and state I was talking about. Ugh. Not surprising as off-hours support often comes from central locations, and after dealing with Third World technical support for so long I guess I couldn't complain about at least being connected to an American working the night shift.
Well then, I asked if I could leave a message? I thought that'd be the least difficult thing to do, since that requires absolutely no knowledge on her part - only a piece of paper and a pencil. Fraid not. She then tells me that "they really don't like it when folks do that". Queue the sounds of desperate frustration at about this point.
So. Let me see here. These people do not have a simple voice messaging system, unlike pretty much every other phone system on the planet - even home phones have answering machines. They're paying to keep a call center staffed, or at least renting the services of one as a superior alternative to simply allowing people to leave a message at the beep. This information service exists exclusively to answer questions on behalf of the office in question after-hours, yet it doesn't know the first thing about the office - the people who work there, where it's located, or even how to transfer a call there. Messages can't be left after hours in any shape or form. They apparently don't even like it when the after-hours call center takes messages. And they're paying extra for the convenience of having a completely unusable service that exists only to frustrate and confound patients.
Most people complain about "getting a machine". It's almost instinct to mash zero and hope to get a "real person". Me? I get stuck with a person while I'm begging for an answering machine.