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Old 03-07-2012, 03:56 PM   #21
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The thing companies don't care about, is that these phone menus take a lot of time for the caller. That's added to the "Press 2 for Spanish," "Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes," and "Your call is very important to us" time.
I have been that voice for a number of companies, in particular, the company I worked for for 16 years. I was a little more friendly and chatty than most automated greetings but nevertheless, there was no escaping the fact that it was a poor substitute for a real person picking up the phone and routing the calls (we used to do that, but ended up eliminating the position in order to save money.)

If a caller wasn't able to get through to the extension he/she needed, the system would, by default, connect him/her to a general mailbox, and some of the rants from frustrated (as well as just plain wacky) customers were a thing to behold. One in particular was a 2 minute long rant from what sounded like a drunk guy with anger issues. Laced with profanity, non-sequiturs, insults about my British accent and general ranting, it was darkly humorous. I still have it saved on my computer.

In my defense, I never used any of the cliches you quoted above Al, preferring to say things like "I know, I know - you're on-hold and it's not the greatest thing in the world, but while you are, let me tell you what's going on around here, and someone will pick you up as soon as possible." However, to some people, being on-hold and having a chap with a cheery British voice tell you that you're going to have to wait for a while only served to annoy them even more :-)

Whatever happened to real people doing all the work? We're definitely losing something with all this automation.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:20 PM   #22
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Here's something that companies don't get: when I'm on hold, if it's quiet or there's music, I can work or do stuff. If there is advertising or repeated messages, I cannot.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:37 PM   #23
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What I'd like to see is a system by which you make your selections online, and then get routed to the right place directly. The company could call you, or you could get a extension number to enter.
Apple does that already (at least they did a couple years ago).

I entered my problem on-line, and they gave the choice for them to call me, and I could provide available times. I got a call back within a few minutes, but our line was busy (we got another call), and I got an email notification immediately that they attempted, will try again, but would I like to choose a better time. Very efficient.

-ERD50
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:57 PM   #24
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Here's something that companies don't get: when I'm on hold, if it's quiet or there's music, I can work or do stuff. If there is advertising or repeated messages, I cannot.
I'm not keen on silence, as I keep wondering if I'm still on-hold or have been inadvertently hung up on. Some kind of music - or even a beep every 5 or 10 seconds as some kind of marker at least serves the purpose of letting me know I'm still on-hold.
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:44 PM   #25
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An internal help line I've frequently had to call has quiet hold music that sometimes falls below some threshold somewhere and goes completely silent. When it drops off I always expect someone has just picked up the line and is about to speak. It's surprisingly distracting, and I often ask "hello?" which seems to push something over the threshold so I can hear the music again.
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