As I get older, I find I have more patience with most things. (At least, I’d like to think so.)
But corporate voice mail is not one of them.
As a former customer relations manager (now seemingly in another lifetime), I’ve never viewed it as a positive technology in the business world.
Sure, it saves companies lots of money. But touting how much they care about my business and their desire to provide me with fantastic service is a bit hard to swallow when I have to listen to a list of menu options that goes on ad nauseum.
Initially, I try to go along with the computerized voice that says, “All of our menu options have changed, so please listen carefully…”
This delay tactic to keep me on hold while two or three employees are trying to handle 40 calls before they get to me at some point isn’t what I call service of any kind, let alone “caring.”
The irritatingly friendly voice then prompts me to press 1 for this, 4 for that, 6 for this and 8 for that, while rattling off 10 different options. Then, after pressing option 8, I’m often sent into another entirely different menu.
“Oh, my God,” I say out loud, hoping to get help out of this voice-mail hell. I press zero for an operator.
“That is not a valid response,” the now irritatingly friendly voice responds. “Apparently, you’re having a problem. Let me get someone to help.”
“No-o-o,” I shout. “You’re the one with the problem!
Now, highly agitated, I’m about to explode. The vexingly cheerful voice tells me how important my call is, but I’ll have to hold because call volume is currently very high. “All of our representatives are currently busy helping other callers… your hold time is approximately 10 minutes.”
“It’s always high,” I yell at the phone. “Maybe you need to hire more employees!”
Ten minutes pass, 15, 20… By now, I’m considering hanging up. I’m in an endless cue, and I’m sick of listening to the same lousy information and elevator music over and over. What’s even worse is sometimes it’s dead air. I have to look at my phone to make sure I’m still connected.
“I’m not giving you the satisfaction,” I scream, thinking I might be the next in line.”
A voice ultimately answers my call, and I tell the person what I need.
“I’m sorry; you have the wrong department. I’ll transfer you.”
Once again, I’m put on hold.
Now, I’m cursing.
Oh, well, so much for patience. Like I said, I’m in voice-mail hell.
Lois Kindle is a freelance writer and columnist for The Observer News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.