Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

O as in overwhelming, indeed

I just got off the phone with the good people over at Chase Rewards.  While incredibly helpful in booking airline tickets for our reward flight, apparently they need to stick a copy of the phonetic alphabet in their call center cubicles.

They have new rules that require their call center reps read back the names - spelled out phonetically letter by letter - to make sure they match up with our government issued IDs.  Including middle names.  Let's just say that between the three of us for whom I bought tickets, we average 25 characters per name (with my wife - with a middle and maiden name - being the winner).  We don't have a "Bob" amongst us.

Normally this wouldn't be so bad, other than it was very clear that the poor woman on the line with me was making things up as she went along. My favorites...

  • "O as in... um... Overwhelming" (although as we got towards the end that morphed into Overjoyed, so maybe she was as glad as I was to be wrapping up)
  • "H as in... um... Happy"
  • "R as in... um... Really"
  • "B as in... um... Beautiful"

I think we spent 10 min. of the 18 min. call just reading back the names.  (Although in looking back at some of her choices, I guess she is in pretty good spirits... It could have been H/Hate, R/Rotten, and B/Bad.)