Automated Voice System Hell
by Barb Hanson
they transferring me to? Should I have pressed three
instead of one? Maybe I should have pressed six and
listened to the options again.
minutes and still holding. I'd better put this on speaker.
I've got work to do. Too bad this is a government office.
If I were calling to buy something, I'd hang up. Maybe
I'll hang up anyway.
A sophisticated voice mail
system may save money but it turns off customers. It turns
off me. I have stopped doing business with more than one
company because of the lack of personal customer service.
I am not the first or only person to do this.
A real live friendly person
answers our phone. That call, you know, could be from a
I know that's not the modern
way. If you call the customer service desk the modern way
is a friendly but automated woman's voice Ė My, I have
learned to hate that voice Ė asking if 239-656-1339 is the
number I'm calling about. YES. YES. YES. I'm sorry, the
voice replies, "I couldn't quite make that out."
Recently, while on hold, I
started wondering what a voice mail system would sound
like if we got one of those fancy answering systems for
Here's the first draft.
Press 1 if you want to charter
Press 2 if you want to take a
sailing or power boating class.
Press 3 if you want to buy a
sail or a power yacht.
Press 4 to confirm a
reservation you have already made, but not to change the
reservation or cancel it.
Press 5 if you want to change
or cancel a reservation.
Press 6 if you want directions.
Press 7 if you want to know
what to bring on the boat. Yes, you can bring your dog.
Press 8 if you want to learn
about the cruising area. It's beautiful!
Press 9 if you want to sign up
a child for our summer day camp.
Press 10 if you have a
compliment for us.
Press 11 if you have a
complaint. You will then be put on hold until you get
tired and hang up.
Press 12 if you are a
solicitor. You will then be put on hold until you get
tired and hang up.
Press 13 if want to check on
the weather. Itís beautiful. Itís always beautiful..
Press 14 if you just want to
talk about boats because itís cold up north and you have
nothing else to do.
Press 15 if you are looking for
a part for your boat that has been sitting in your
backyard for 10 years. We donít stock parts. No, we don't
have that part. Yes, I'm sure.
Press 16 if your father who was
the former President of Nigeria has died and you have 10
million dollars you want to deposit in our account. Wait
times now exceed two hours.
Press 17 if you want to talk to
the owner and you want to sell them interest in oil wells
Press 18 if you want to hear
this menu of options again.
For all other calls, please
press zero. Iím sorry, all lines are busy now. Your
business is very important to us. Good-bye.
Is this working? Never mind. I
know the answer.
going to keep the personal phone answering system we've
had for 25 years, thank you. When you call any day of the
week, from 0800 to 1700 hours, a real live person will
answer. I know this is not the modern way of doing
business, but my gut tells me it's better business.