March 6, 2013

Frustrated by Telephone Prompts?

I realize times have changed and I'm still a little old fashion, but it doesn't change the fact that telephone prompts frustrate the heck out of me. How many times have you called a business and have been asked to press a certain key to speak to someone. Of course you will need to know their extension. Generally a list of names and extensions are not conveyed. I have moved beyond the frustration of the first prompt which is, do you prefer 'English' or 'Spanish'. 
I prefer a person, even if they speak spanish. I realize I will not be able to use my hands over the phone to communicate with them, but generally the name of a person I speak, they will understand. 

Usually when I call a business, I’m not sure which number to press, because by the end of all the selections I have either forgotten all mentioned prompt selections or nothing matched what I needed. It usually ends up either, “ your business is important to us so please remain on the line, and someone will be with you shortly,” or “please press zero and the operator will direct your call.” Nine times out of ten, it usually ends up that I have to press zero because I didn’t hear anything I needed. Once I press zero I  hear someone say, "we are experiencing a high volume of calls, your call will be handled in 12 minutes." 

Another fun little annoyance with these prompts is when I hear, “please listen carefully because our menu selections have changed.” This is great but I never called your company before, so how would I know what the old selections were? I think they do this because they want you to stay on the phone and hear all their choices, and you won’t try using the prompts before they say what they are. Maybe there could be a game show called “Beat the Prompts.” 

 People still need people. It just seems like it is harder to get to people than ever before. Look, I understand the cost of having a receptionist that is good at multi-tasking, but there has got to be a better way. 

Here’s a thought, just put a receptionist on the phone. Not only will we not have to sit and listen to the laundry list of the “directory” selections, but our call will end up being directed to exactly where it needs to go, even if it is to the right persons voice mail. At least we can move on into hope that they will return our call, plus you’ll help the unemployment rate.