Thank you for calling the blank-blank-blank. All of our associates/agents/technicians are currently serving other customers. We appreciate your business. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.
In the recovery period after the Great Crash, I’ve spent quite some time on the phone with various folks, reconstructing my suite of downloaded software. I’ve spent almost as much time on hold.
We appreciate your business and apologize for the delay. Call volumes are higher than normal.
Just my luck, eh? To have a hard drive fail when higher-than-normal numbers of other failures are occurring. What are the odds of that, do you suppose?
All these companies have been in their respective businesses for quite some time. You’d think they’d be able to estimate call volumes, and the numbers of staff required to handle those volumes, pretty accurately. Maybe it’s the phase of the moon, or the influence of sun spots that’s thrown off their calculations so drastically.
Or maybe, just maybe, their calculations are of a different sort. Something more to do with how long people will wait on hold when they have no options.
We apologize for the delay. Please stay on the line to retain your spot in the line now stretching to infinity and beyond.
Well, of course, that’s just me being silly, isn’t it? The line doesn’t really stretch to infinity (or beyond) and my call is eventually answered. Eventually.
After I’ve adequately identified myself as an existing customer by reciting my name, mailing address, birth date, height, weight, and inseam length, the scripted dance begins.
How can I help you today, Isabel?
Mumble, mumble, mumble, say I, punctuated by some hand waving and eye rolling for greater clarity. Mumble, mumble. And then I stop, waiting breathlessly for their response. Am I in trouble here, or is everything going to be all right?
I can definitely help you with that.
That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? If only it weren’t something I hear every time, from every agent, in every call centre. I can see the training manual entry as clearly as if I’d written it.
Tell them you can help. Never mind what their problem is. Never mind the cost to your integrity. Do you want them to break down weeping?
Actually, maybe the Big Guy is right about nothing being all good or all bad. This Great Crash, for instance, as bad as it was, has led me to learn about and execute online backups, all while updating to this decade’s software versions. More importantly, it’s identified what is sure to be a lucrative new business opportunity for me: consulting on call centre and help desk operations.
Plagued by cranky customers? Flustered by panicked callers? No worries. I can definitely help you with that.
Just call me at my 1-800 number. But please be aware that with all this recent, completely unpredictable sunspot activity, I’m experiencing higher-than-normal call volumes. So when you get put on hold, please be patient.
Your business is very important to me. Truly.