I agree entirely Chris - some of the phone staff are sub-standard although recently when I broke down on an unclassified road the operator did a fantastic job in reading her version of Google maps under my direction and telling the patrol (AA) where to find me.In my job I regularly come into contact with the AA and RAC, and find the guys on the road are generally pretty good. Its usually the people in their call centres who tend to let them down, sending patrols to locations miles away from the breakdown, because they've taken the details down wrong, then blame the customer!
Another thing a lot of people aren't aware of is that neither will generally recover your car after an accident, unless you pay extra at the time (usually around £150). One time , on the A1, late at night and pouring with rain, I found a car on the hard shoulder, having been involved in an accident, with some damage to the front. There was a young woman on the grass verge in floods of tears, as she had rung the AA as a member, who had abruptly told her she was covered for breakdowns, not accidents, and hung up leaving her stranded miles from home! I managed to get her and her car off to the next junction and helped her contact a recovery company to get her home, the AA couldn't care less!
Me neither, because I haven't had breakdown cover since 1995...I've never had any issues with the AA or RAC in my proper Alfa.