I hate phonecalls. I hate how they demand my attention right now without actually giving me any useful information. I hate trying to convey information over the phone. Like numbers, and names, and (ugh) spelling out my name. Why on earth would anyone choose to use the absolute worst communication medium when spelling and getting numbers in the right order are important? And I also hate repeating myself, and I usually have to do that a few times too.
I tend to mostly wake up in the afternoons, and then I see missed calls on my phone from people trying to get hold of me in the morning. Do any of these people send me a message to tell me what they were calling about? No. Almost never. Will I call them back? Not a chance. I know they called, but I have no idea what about. Why on earth would I waste my time calling back if they can’t even have the decency to tell me what they wanted? Not to mention if I call back, I’ll probably have to tell them who I am, and spell out my name, and I just hate talking on the phone in general, so why should I put myself through that?
What annoys me the most is how phone calls are like the default communication method for basically everything (at least here in South Africa). Nowadays more companies are offering email as a communication method, but even then, it seems they don’t really take it that seriously, and in many cases they end up insisting on using phone calls anyway. Something like “Hi, thanks for emailing us, by the way, you just wasted your time, we will only help you over the phone. Call us on this number: XXXXX”…
So, I’ve been doing an experiment, where I refuse to use phonecalls as much as humanly possible. I will inform any people or companies that they need to email or text/SMS if they want to contact me. Here I will keep logs of any interesting things that happen as a result of that. Hopefully I can train some people to get with the times a bit… or at least, I’ll learn which companies I should probably stop doing business with…
Experiment 1: Bank card delivery
My bank debit card was about to expire, and for some reason the bank sends the new one via courier (I didn’t ask them to do that – I’d rather fetch it in person).
So the couriers kept arriving early in the morning (while I’m asleep), and leaving an SMS saying not much… something like “We tried to contact you, call this number for more information, or to schedule another delivery time”. Like that’s gonna happen.
So I sent an email to the bank, I asked them to tell the couriers to come in the afternoon, and that they should email or SMS me instead of call, because I’m not available for phonecalls.
Good Day Sir/Madam,
Thank you for your email,
The courier company will give you a call for the delivery on the card,
If you do wish to change the delivery point or you are unable to receive the card you may make arrangements with the contact center on XXXXXXX (the same number the couriers left me anyway),
Calls are not a good way to contact me – please tell them to email me or SMS. Alternatively, please tell me where I can email or SMS them.
(no response from them, lol, I guess they don’t know how to email or SMS them either)
So I tried to track down the courier company’s website or email. I found a site that looked like theirs, used the contact form, and was greeted by an error message. Hilarious.
Then I managed to find an email address for their parent company (I think), and sent them a mail:
Hi. I got a message saying that DSV Mounties are trying to deliver my FNB card, but all they gave me is a phone number. I need to communicate via email or SMS instead, and after some searching I managed to find your website. My reference number is XXXXXXXX. I am only available for deliveries at home in the afternoons, after 2pm.
PS: The contact form on your website doesn’t work. It goes to this error page:
Thank you for submitting your request with DSV via the XXXX@XXXXX.com e-mail address. This e-mail serves as acknowledgement of your request.
Your request has been handed over to our Mounties department for an update regarding your enquiry.
Should you require further assistance do not hesitate to contact them on <XXXX@XXXXX.com>
… And a couple of days later, they tried to deliver in the morning again, aaand left the same message telling me to call them. lol
Clearly the couriers didn’t get the message… it seems people here don’t take email very seriously. At that point I just gave up.
A month later, I still don’t have the new card. I’ve had a few early morning missed calls on my phone from the bank though, but no other communication attempts have been made by them. I’ve emailed the bank and the delivery people, asking if it’s been returned to the nearest branch so that I can pick it up in person… no response so far except automated ones. I may have to just show up at the bank and see what happens… very disappointed, I am.