A rant against automated telephone answering systems



 By Vanessa Dante (April 2017)


I think it’s about time people spoke out against automated telephone answering systems. Yes! Telephone answering systems. You know the ones that tell you to select a button and then another button and then another button. “Hello and welcome. If you wish to press a button for a particular service, please press 1. If you don’t wish to have to press a button then please press 2.”


You press button 2 and onto the next menu you go “If you wish to express your frustration at having to press a heap of buttons, then please type in a swear word and press the hash key. If you would rather simply tolerate this annoying telephone answering service press 2.”


Hopefully after pressing enough buttons you will get the option you are looking for… but oh oh, there might be some more options of buttons to press yet… “If you wish to speak to an operator who has English as their second language, press 1. If you wish to speak to an operator who has a strong accent you can’t understand, press 2. If you wish to hang up in frustration, press 3. Otherwise press 4 to return to the very first menu you were at 5 minutes ago.”


I don’t know about you, but at this stage I’m really annoyed at having to press buttons, going from one menu to the next. However, the frustration is not over yet... “We are currently experiencing large numbers of calls right now and all our operators are busy.”  Yeah, what’s new. Isn’t that always the case? Isn’t the fact of the matter that there are NEVER enough operators working at ANY TIME, so there are always more calls than what they can handle.


“Your call is valuable to us. Please stay on the line”. Errr yeah, it’s really valuable to you, that’s why you don’t have enough people manning your phones.


Then you have a selection of the most annoying music ever composed by musical artists. Or if you’re even more unlucky it’s some horrendously annoying tune that sounds like it’s from some old 80s video arcade game. Why do they play that music? Is that to make us WANT to hang up?


It’s not just music though. There will be annoying operator announcements that come up every 30 seconds or so. “We are genuinely sorry that nobody is available to take your call right now.” Huh what?? You’re sorry? Oh right, that is just such a genuine apology, isn’t it? A recorded message saying how so so sorry you are. I could imagine what my mother would have said when I was a little girl, having got up to mischief, if I’d pulled out a recorded apology and played it to her. I would have been sorry alright and it wouldn’t have been for the original infraction! 


Who do these morons think they are kidding? They are sorry? Seriously?


Oh maybe I’m being cynical here. Perhaps they actually employ a special person who actually sits there and watches all the calls coming through and laments that all these people are being kept on hold for half an hour. That’s all that person is employed to do, so that the recorded message actually really is genuine.


Pffffffft! Yeah, I really believe that. I do sincerely believe that. Snicker snicker.


What I find even more frustrating, as I’m waiting for half an hour on hold, is that in some cases they do actually play a piece of decent music and you’re getting into that music when suddenly that annoying message comes up again saying “we are so genuinely sorry that nobody is available to take your call right now…” GRRR! Not only are they trying to insult my intelligence, they are interrupting a decent piece of music. Why do I need to be told every 30 seconds how sorry you are? Is that really necessary? How about being sorry that your message about being sorry is really irritating the hell out of me?


So anyway, after I’ve waited half an hour, finally I get through to my foreign telephone operator who can’t speak English properly and I spend 5 minutes explaining my problem to her before she finally understands.


“I’m sorry, Miss, but you have the wrong department. I will transfer you” 


And there starts another saga, but that’s a long-winded tale for another day. 


Write a comment

Comments: 0