January 12, 2006

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Note to my insurance provider: it is not necessary to tell me quite so frequently that my call is important to you and that I should please hold. For instance, I would say that every 20 seconds is slightly too often. For one thing, that only allows 15 seconds of music to play between announcements, which means that I never get to hear both the beginning and end of any four-bar musical phrase, which is irritating even when I'm listening to an instrumental version of "Memory" from Cats. Also, it means that I have had you say that sentence in my ear FORTY-SIX TIMES so far. Wait, 47.

Of course, this all goes toward reinforcing my theory that recordings like this are not meant to make people stay on the line, but to drive them away, so that companies won't have to put up with so many damn people, always needing things (and, of course, hiring people to talk to them).

Update: Phone actually started ringing after 17:20 (or 52 iterations of my call being important to them), which included interrupted versions of "Chariots of Fire", "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", "Memory", and "Nights in White Satin". Phone rang for 50 seconds, after which I was put on hold again, but this time without the repeating announcement. The music has started over again with "Chariots of Fire", however. Ah, here is a person now.

Later: Back on hold again. I don't bring her flowers anymore.

Final update: I didn't recognize the song after "Nights in White Satin". And it was a good thing I called, because, no, they hadn't in fact sent my insurance cards, due to some glitch or other, now fixed because I brought it to their attention. And this task dispatched, off I go to Boston.

Posted by Francis at 02:36 PM

A friend of mine told me a story from when he was working in consulting a few years back. In short, he confirms your hypothesis that attrition via frustration is a deliberate strategy of customer service phone systems.

This elevates your theory to hearsay.

Posted by: John at January 14, 2006 04:24 PM
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