The merry-go-round

When I was a kid, I enjoyed riding this wonderful old carousel in Coney Island.  The brightly-painted wooden horses were the work of a master carver.  The whole merry-go-round was decorated with ornate baubles and mirrors.  In the middle of it all, an elaborate band organ cheerfully tooted and thumped a spirited tune while we whirled around.

Almost beyond the reach of the outer riders was a ring dispensing arm.  If you leaned out far enough, and were agile enough as you zipped by, you could snag a ring with your index finger.  Most of the rings were iron; if you grabbed the rare brass ring, you won a free ride.

Now I occasionally find myself on a different kind of merry-go-round, one that I don’t enjoy at all.  For example, a phone call to Customer Service starts a sequence of recorded messages.  “You can visit our website for assistance with your computer!”  (But my computer isn’t working.)  “To continue in English, press 1.  For ambiguous responses in another language, press 2.”  (OK, press 1.)  “If you’re using operating system ‘A’, press 1.  If you’re using operating system ‘B’, that’s too bad.  If you can’t hear this message, press 2.  To choose from our list of on-hold music selections, press 3.”  And so forth.

After several tries and long periods on hold, I finally talk to an actual person.  After 45 minutes of “try this” and “try that”, the problem is still not solved.  Then I am told that a senior specialist will have to call me back, after the monsoon season is over.  And the agent signs off with “Thank you for choosing our product.  I will now mark your question as ‘Resolved’.”

What about your organization?  The people you serve depend on you.  Do you help them get the brass ring quickly?  Or do you just send them around in circles until they get dizzy.

George M. Pomonik
Pomonik Consulting, Inc.
“Chaos Removal Services”SM

Copyright © George M. Pomonik, 2012. All rights reserved.

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