#260 - New Look & Phone Tree Rant

3 minute read

Motto: If Not Now, When?

Hey, this looks different!

Yes, I've slightly changed the look & feel of the Column to celebrate my move from aarongilly.blogspot.com to aarongilly.com. The move set me back a whole $12/year. I hope to break even by putting an ad on the page. Hopefully you don't feel too alienated.

This new look is not what you'd call "final". I'm still using Blogger to host my page. Although it's a Google product and I love Google products, it's not as flexible/powerful as I'd like it to be... so this whole deal may look different again someday. It will still be aarongilly.com - but it wont' be so... well... like this. Some of the weird blank white spaces I'll actually be able to take care of. I'll be able to do lots of stuff. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the new look.

On Friday, December 18th I am turning 10,000 days old.

I read "The Martian" with Melissa. We both highly suggest reading it. The movie comes out in one month and a few days. Also hopefully in that month - new iPhones and the next Nexuses (Nexii?).

I stayed up until 1am scanning things. I really like our new scanner. I'd put my notes online, but they are atrocious. I don't mean "not good", they are plenty good, it's just everything around the notes that's the atrocity.

Brief rant about phone trees:

Phone trees are implemented by businesses to save money. The theory is that it will allow customers to route themselves to the solution on their own, thereby removing the need to pay someone to give it to them. In other instances, the customer is routed directly to the proper person who can help them, thereby eliminating the need to pay the first-line phone answerers.

I have a different theory, though. The true cost savings comes from the lowered call volume. People universally hate phone trees. Knowing you'll have to slowly try to navigate your way through a ever more frustrating series of "representative... representative... REP-re-zen-ta-tive... REPRESENTATIVE!!! REPRESENTATIVE RIGHT NOW!!!". Only the customers who really need their problems handled are willing to stick through it. Recently I had to call up my health insurer to get them to stop charging me a $100 fee each month. After over an hour on the phone without reaching a single human being I started calculating when my "break even" point would be. At my standard hourly rate of pay, how many hours before this isn't worth it?

I got it solved, but the fact that I considered letting them charge me a bogus $100 fee each month so I wouldn't have to deal with their phone tree just goes to show how terrible they are. They are sacrificing customer satisfaction and some paying jobs to save money.

Makes me want to take this approach to my solution:

Top 5: Numbers Relating to Arbitrary Things
5. 20,620 - total number of Google searches in my Google search history
4. 1,108 - total number of pages I scanned yesterday while digitizing my notes from college (I'm still missing)
3. 65 - the average number of pages I used for notes in my classes, that's about 1.5 pages per class period
2. 92 - weeks I have successfully "Life Tracked" (out of 123 weeks total)
1. 112,458 - words in my "Old Columns" text file (that contains a couple previous iterations of the Column... I told you I've written a lot of these)

"For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three."
- Alice Kahn -