Your call is not important to us, please hang up.

16th September 2010

You know what I hate?  Using my credit card over the phone.  Or putting any number longer than a local or international number into a phone.  Because that requires entering the number in before the automated voice says:  I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that, try again.  Well, of course you didn’t catch that.  It wasn’t a ball.  Or my shoe, hurtling towards your head.  You don’t even have a head.  You are a machine.  May I speak to a real person, please?

Talking to a machine is driving me so nuts that I’m talking to a machine.  Figure that out.

And then the machine ‘connects you to an advisor’.  But there isn’t a connection, really.  No, there is no human understanding.  But there is classical music.  However, this is not a put on your best clothes and get carried away by the symphony for a few hours kind of experience.  This is sitting in your robe and doodling circles on an envelope while having tinny shit shoved in your ear.

By the time you hear a voice, you realise that in your boredom and frustration your circling pen has made a hole in the envelope.  Through both sides.  And then it dawns on you that all the automated voice said was:  Your call is important to us, please hold.  Hold what?  My head, so my brain doesn’t leak out my ears?  Ok, I think I will.

And you know the voice doesn’t really care.  It automated.  But what it’s really saying is: Your call is not important to us, please hang up.  You are one of a million people on the line right now.  We don’t want to help you.  In fact it would help us if you took your problem to the internet.  (I did, the internet told me to call and listen to crappy music for three hours).  And it always amuses me when that suggestion doesn’t work.  What about the times when you’re calling about your internet connection?  Well, I would visit the website, if I could get online, which is why I’m calling.  Well, that wasn’t the reason for my call today, but I’m sure someone out there is on hold for that very reason.  That person is annoyed because he or she is being told to ‘visit the website’.

I’ve worked in call centres before.  Ok, one.  I do know that the actual humans on the phone do their best.  And if I haven’t lost the power of speech/hung up by the time I do get through to one, I’m nice to them.  Partly because I’m so very excited that the music is off and I’m talking to a human.

I’m writing this in the office.  There is a wall between me and the phone.  We have decided we need some time apart.

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  • Reply joshsuds 16th September 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Agreed! It’s especially annoying when there’s a long wait time during which you listen to classical music interrupted every 30 seconds by a voice saying “your call is important to us. Please stay on the line for the next available representative.”

    My response is, if my call is so important to them, why are they making me to talk to someone halfway around the world? That’s like 10,000 miles away from the problem I’m trying to have solved!


  • Reply Aunt Nancy 16th September 2010 at 9:59 pm

    SO Funny, So True. Now I do nothing, just sit there and listen to the machine, say they didn’t hear me, After the machine tells me this four or five times, a human most always gets on. HA…..They don’t always have the answer, but it’s good hearing their voice. Someone told me the other day I could try pushing zero and wait, not so sure about this, but it’s worth a try.

  • Reply Orionson 16th September 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Not to mention the beware the dreaded 0845 “we’re delighted to have you stay on hold with regular status in the queue updates breaking up the Bolero/Pachabel’s Canon and giving you false hope so as to keep you on the line because we earn 10p for every second you stay on the line ad infinitum… we’re rich thank you very much and I’m off to my third home in the Cayman’s for some sun and serious Agave Tequilana cocktails” numbers.

    Love your crisp style and way with words. Now go eat the worm just to get your own back.

  • Reply Julie Jordan Scott 17th September 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Oh, Lorna – you made me laugh – chortle – nod in agreement. I especially love the image of the shoe hurtling toward the call centre operator’s invisible head. LOL. Good stuff!

    • Reply LKD 17th September 2010 at 5:05 pm

      Can I tell you something? That’s my favourite line, too!

  • Reply superfan307 22nd September 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! It’s even worse when you, as someone familiar with the “customer service tango” dial “0” in an attempt to find a human operator only to find that it leads you straight back to the menus! I don’t want to push 10 different buttons to make sure that “my call is directed to the right department.” How many departments are there? Why do I have to press 1 for English? English is the language of the country. I currently live in Russia. I expect that when I pick up the phone to call anyone that all automated messages, and operators speak Russian. I don’t expect there to be an option for English. Thanks for blogging – I love your writing style. 🙂 All the best,


    • Reply LKD 24th September 2010 at 10:03 am

      Thanks for the understanding, and thanks for reading! Where did you live before Russia? 🙂

      • Reply superfan307 25th September 2010 at 4:46 pm

        NP 🙂 I’m originally from Texas, but I’ve also lived in Tennessee. I currently live in a small-ish city outside of Moscow. I love it here! 400,000 is a good size city because there’s always plenty of things to do, and it’s pretty hard to get truly, spine tinglingly lost. I know, I’ve tried. 🙂

  • Reply She.Is.Just.A.Rat 23rd September 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Tinny shit! That’s exactly what it is! I’ve been trying to figure out a good description for the horrible sound quality forever, but you’ve hit the nail on the head! You might need to read this –> http://theoatmeal.com/comics/customer_service <– It's called "Why I'd rather be punched in the testicles than call customer service". Warning: May offend. But then, so does customer service…

    • Reply LKD 24th September 2010 at 10:13 am

      That was pretty cool, and my first laugh of the day! Thanks. 🙂 And I’m not easily offended!

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