AAA and emergency road service

You are driving on a cold winter morning, and there is an emergency. You are fine, but the car is in a bad shape. So, you need to tow it away. You call AAA, because you have purchased their road-side assistance.

  • AAA: Welcome to AAA, blah blah blah, Press 1 for emergency road-side assistance
  • You press 1 immediately!
  • AAA: Enter your 16 digit AAA membership number

What do you do? Your card is in the car, and it is inaccessible [or in a state of panic, you keep dialing the wrong digits]. The automated system keeps asking you to enter the correct membership id. In order to get out of it, you try ‘0’ and whatever you can think of. Finally, you have a better idea and you hang up.

You call again and listen to all the options in the opening menu. You realize there is no option to speak to a human. So, you think you know how these systems work and dial “0.” AAA prompts you with all the standard options again. So, finally you hang up because you are already in a state of panic!

What you actually need to do is that when it makes you listen to the options again, you again dial ‘0.’ If it does that again, dial ‘0’ again (See, Then, you are connected to a ‘human.’ I don’t know what happens if they realize that you are in a situation where the card is stuck in the car, because we could not find a way of getting to this level, when we really needed it. I hope they do send out a towing truck.

However, is this not a stupid customer-unfriendly system? It is quite possible that a person is such exceptional emergencies, but he/she does not face them everyday! So, he/she would not know about dialing 0 until to get a human!

How come AAA devised a system (to manage emergencies!) in which there is no clear way for a person to get around the “entering the card number” process?


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