Monday, 13 August 2012

Automated answering services...argh!

I'm sure I'm not alone in this particular gripe.
How many of you have dialled a number on the phone to be greeted by a multichoice menu?
Annoying isn't it?
The recording then gives you a range of options, which it kindly will repeat, "just press star", if you are not sure which you want. Some then go on to a sub menu, and I have rung one number which then went to a third menu.
Eventually, you get through, or think you have, only to be greeted by another recording telling you how much they value your call, and they will be with you as soon as a line is free...Cue piped music on a loop.  Sometimes the music isn't too bad, but if the music falls into that category, it is usually constantly interrupted by a voice saying how much your call is valued, ad nauseum.  You begin to give up the will to live.  You might be like I am sometimes, and start talking back to the voice, or singing along with the music.
It's now at least 5 minutes since you decided to make a quick call, and there is still no sign of getting to speak to a human.
By now your grasp on reality is becoming tenuous to say the least.  At this point I am usually telling the voice that if my call is so important to them, then why doesn't someone answer it....and it's at this point you get through to someone.
And sometimes they can't help you, and have to put you on "hold" whilst they check something out who knows more.,  Hold on...why can't the person with the knowledge answer the phone?
I have been known to interrupt them at this point and tell them how long I have already been on the line, and suggest that they hang up, find out what I need to know and they call me back.  It sometimes works, but not many are open to this suggestion, after all the person you are speaking to has one function in life, and that is to answer phones, not find things out and make phone calls.
This whole process drives me around the bend, and I'm sure that if a comic writer, such as Tom Holt or Jasper Fforde were to introduce something like this into a book, (were it not already in existence,) people would think they had gone a step too far, and recommend a stay in a nice room with soft walls, and maybe a coat with extra long sleeves to prevent them hurting themselves inadvertently.

And what is my point here?
A very simple one. What is wrong with the engaged tone these days? You remember, or maybe you aren't old enough.  There used to be a time when if you dialled a phone number, it rang, and you got gave an engaged tone, so you rang back later.  Oh, and large firms would have someone on a switchboard, answering calls.  These switchboard operators were generally very helpful and if the person was busy, they would know roughly how long for, as they were usually the receptionist as well.  And these lovely people would suggest when would be a good time to try ringing again.  These calls usually took around a minute if the person was not available.  You weren't subjected to rubbish music and inane recordings. 


Blue said...

Welcome to the 21st century where the world is automated. It's annoying to me as well.

Ruby said...