Originally Posted by TromboneAl
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.