A few days ago, I was unable to update my credit card number in my United Airlines Mileage Plus account. An older number appeared on the screen when I booked my flight, but there was no obvious way to get into my account online to bring it up to date.
There followed a considerable search on my part to speak to a real live caring person to help me correct the error. It began like this:
Hi, View Account Sign Out
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For reasons not apparent, United Airlines makes it challenging to reach the person to person step. The customer is initially diverted to irrelevant pages to see if anything presented there might possibly help them. Maybe they knew from experience that a human to human connection between two humans halfway across the world could be fraught with problems, even if it did save the company some money. I guess they save hiring more people by diverting as many customers as possible to an online solution.
After I finally connected with someone, I could not have dreamed up a more ridiculous and irritating interaction. It might have led a person less in control of their behavior than myself to violence.
I was connected to a man somewhere across the globe who promised to help me if I would just answer a few “security” questions.
I could feel myself resisting, but I’d gotten this far and I didn’t want to let go. I figured they’d want my mother’s maiden name and the name of my first beloved dog. No way.
Me: “You’re kidding, right? ” I asked him, my mind boggled by the fact that this was an actual security question.
He: “No, Ma’am,” he matter of factly replied, finding no humor in my question. This man had a job to do and whether or not it made any sense, he was not to be moved from following his instructions.
Me: “That’s a ridiculous question,” I answered matter of factly as well, trying to match his even temperament but feeling my anger rise. I was sure I was stating the obvious. “I have no favorite pizza topping nor did I ever tell anyone at your organization what the answer to that question would be!” Besides, I NEVER answered your so-called security questions.