Honesty in Automation

What if the automated answering service really told the truth? It would be something like this:

Hello, thank you for calling 3rsof50plus.com.  To leave positive feedback please press or say one.  To send a donation please press or say two.  For Espanola please press or say three.  For all other options please press or say 4.

The person that pushes 1 will then hear, “At the tone please leave your positive message.  Thank you and may God bless you and keep you.”

The person that pushes 2 will hear, “3rsof50plus.com appreciates and values our contributors.  When you are ready please enter your credit card number followed by the three to four-digit verification code.  Finally, please enter the card’s expiration date as a two-digit month and a two-digit year.  Thank you, your card has been verified.  Please press 1 to donate one-thousand dollars, press 2 to donate five-hundred dollars or press 3 to donate one-hundred dollars, to donate a lesser amount please press 0.  Thank you for your support.  Your donation has been processed.  Your donations will continue to be charged to this card each month until you call our other (secret) number or Hell freezes over.  Have a blessed day. Goodbye.”

He probably doesn’t understand me either but will try to dissolve our language barrier by talking faster.

The person that pushes 3 will hear, “I apologize that 3rsof50plus only speaks English.  If you would like to speak to a person with a thick foreign accent that is learning to speak English and has never set foot on American soil please press 4.”

The person that pushes 4 will hear, “To become a corporate sponsor please press or say 5, to learn more about ways to give us your money please press or say 6. To speak with a representative press 7. For Espanola press or say 0.”

The person that presses 7 will hear, “All of our representatives are currently frustrating other callers.  Your call is unimportant to us.  If you would like for us to call you back in 15 to 50 minutes please press 1 and leave your call back number after the tone.  You will not lose your place in line.  We understand that by the time we call you back you will either be back at work and unable to take a personal call or doing some other activity that makes it impossible to answer. We, on the other hand, will have the satisfaction of knowing we kept our word.”

If you press 0 you hear, “Bless your heart, you must think you are actually going to get to speak to a real person. Main menu.”

I know call center work is rough. I love someone that used to work in one. Bless his heart!

Our secret: one percent of all callers eventually get to speak with a real person.  By the time this happens they are usually so exhausted and stressed that they do one of the following:

  1. Use profanity which will prompt the operator to respond by saying, “I am sorry that you feel that way, bless your heart. At 3rsof50plus.com we adhere to stringent moral values.  We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding profanity or other demeaning language.  We will add you to our prayer list.  Goodbye.”
  2. Ask to speak to a supervisor. “Please stay on the line while I put you on hold.”  The caller will then be subject to deafeningly loud music from a genre that no one has ever liked.  After 30 minutes the call will abruptly be disconnected.
  3. If the caller described in number two calls back again and tries to speak to a supervisor the agent will put them on hold and after 20 minutes will get their co-worker who is a new hire, not a supervisor, to take the call. This is done in an effort to assure the caller will hang up and never call again.  This practice is part of new employee training.

I hope I have provided you with a grin or giggle today and by all means have a blessed week!

Blessing to the following for allowing the use of their photographs; Yogendra Singh, Berkley Communications and Alex Knight


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