Featured Column

C. Paul Luongo's Published Columns

Friday, September 08, 2006

Voice Mael (Strom)

Voice Mael (Strom)
By C. Paul Luongo

Telephone robots. That’s what we’ve become. Corporations today are forcing us to deal with voice mail that is at once exasperating, time-consuming and in many cases an insult to our intelligence. Where was it written that we be forced into being the virtual corporate telephone employee for the very businesses that we are trying to reach? Business that heretofore would have humans manning the phones to help, assist and control the flow of communications which nowadays is the WORST in modern history.

Take for example, this voice mail of the Holmes Group in Milford, Massachusetts (508-634-8050) makers of home appliances such as heaters, humidifiers, fans, air purifiers and lighting. This is an exact transcript.

“You have reached the Corporate Headquarters of the Holmes Group. If you know your party’s four-digit extension number, please enter it now.
For company directory, press 1.
For all other calls, please listen carefully as our menu options have recently changed.
If you are a retail business, requiring a return authorization, please press 2.
If you are a retail business with any other questions, please press 3.
For Consumer Services, please press 4.
For address and directions to this location, please press 5.
For the Travel Office, press 6.
If we haven’t covered your choices, please listen carefully.
To reach the General Voice Mailbox, for Sales, press 4260.
Marketing Home Environment, 4271.
Marketing Kitchen, 4272.
Marketing & Creative Services, 4261.
Purchasing, 4262.
Finance, 4263.
Human Resources, 4264.
Supply Chain, 4265.
Engineering, 4266.
Information Technology, 4267.
The Executive Office, 4269.
To repeat this menu, please press 9.
For all other calls, please press 7.”

I hung up. How rude to expect anyone to follow these time-consuming pronouncements!

Another winner is at Conexant Systems, Inc. Newport Beach, California. Here’s the voice mail for 949-483-4600.

“Hello and welcome to Conexant.
If you know the extension of the person you are trying to reach, press 1.
If you know the name of the person you wish to reach, press 2.
For all sales pricing, technical support and sales literature, press 3.
Please note if you select option 3 you may experience a delay of up to 30 seconds before your selection is processed.
For general information, including address and employment verification, press 4.
For Investor Relations, press 5.
If you would like personal assistance, please press 1, then dial extension 5300 when prompted.
To repeat this menu press 9.”

Even here in Boston, a place we like to think of as more sophisticated and cultured, the MaidPro Franchise Corporation (617-742-8080) voice mail boggles the mind, and they’re in the SERVICE Business! Here’s how it goes.

“Hello and thank you for calling MaidPro.
Your call may be monitored to assure quality customer service.
If you have never used our services and would like to gain information or receive an estimate, please press 1 now.
If you are a current MaidPro client and wish to make a schedule change or have a question, please press 2 now.
If you know your party’s extension you may dial it at any time.
For the company directory press the # key.
If you wait on the phone a person will answer and ask you your name, company, and reason for your call. If the company has not originally contacted you, then you are told to call back and dial extension 349.
Extension 349:
Hello and thank you in advance for offering your products and services to our organization.
Please follow these instructions very carefully, as we will not deal with venders that don’t.
Please fax a single page document to 617-720-0700 outlining exactly what products and services you are offering.
And we will pass it along to the appropriate party.
They will respond to you. Please do not follow up with phone calls.
This applies to all cold calls, and unsolicited calls.
Thank you very much … we appreciate it.”

Lastly, CIS-US, Inc. in Bedford, Massachusetts greets you with these insults at 781-275-7120.

An automated system says press 0 to speak to the operator.
The receptionist answers and I ask to speak to the company president. (They won’t give out the president’s name).
Receptionist asks who this is and from what company?
They then say they’re directing your call.
Phone rings and another automated systems answers and states -
We appreciate your interest in our company, but we are not accepting any solicitation calls for we don’t have the time nor resources to properly answer every call that we receive.
Please leave your name, company, number and purpose of your call. We will pass the information on to the appropriate party. If we feel there is a need for your service then we will be in contact with you.
After the tone leave your message.

Help! Where’s my pain-killer. Where did we go wrong? Ma Bell, where are you when we need you? Come Back Lily Tomlin!

No comments: