Corpoorate Savings Ploy ... that Burns Customers' Tails!

joyfulguyJanuary 19, 2006

Our national broadcaster has a phone-in program covering our (large) province, using a large number of repeater stations, 5 days weekly for an hour, sometimes more, around noon.

Some time ago the host asked how we reacted when we phoned a company and got one of those reorded messages offering us a number of options (which usually weren't relevant to our concern).

I said that, when I was feeling mischievous (actually, quite a bit of the time), I'd note when the phone was answered and how long that it took me to get to talk to a warm body.

Then I'd say that their company was saving money by having phones answered by a machine instead of a person who could deal directly with my request, the machine offering me a number of options which didn't interest me.

And that they had just wasted, say a minute and 40 seconds of my time, while saving money for their corporation.

So - I proposed to talk nonsense to that perspon for a simimlar amount of time, then get down to business.

Several have said that they are busy and don't have time for such nonsense.

So - it's O.K. for their company to waste my time - but they don't like me wasting theirs?

Too darn bad!, say I.

I say that if their time is too precious for me to waste it, I want to talk to their supervisor.

No one has hung up on me - when the first one does, you can bet I'll be calling back and giving whomever I can contact, as high in the organization as I can reach, a piece of my mind.

(Not too big a piece - don't have all that much to spare!).

The host of the show said, "Oh, I love that - I'm going to try that myself!".

Have a happy weekend, everyone.

ole joyful

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Joyful, you are too much! I wish I had thought of that.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 7:49PM
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We kept getting calls from the manufacturer of our washer and dryer, attempting to sell us extended warranties. One day my DH answered such a call and explained to the caller that he was at that very moment filling out a stolen property report because the units had been stolen from us only "yesterday". I wasn't really paying attention to what he was saying...then it clicked in and I had to stifle my laughter. The caller expressed her sympathy. We never got another solicitation from them.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 6:06PM
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Meghane - and all,

It ain't patented, registered, copyrighted or whatever.

So - feel free to use it at your convenience.

Have a great week.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 4:53PM
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Perhaps some of you newcomers to this thread may have missed this message when it first appeared several months ago, and since.

I hope that you may find it interesting.

No reason that I can think of why you shouldn't try such an impish trick, should it suit you.

Have a happy spring and summer.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 10:10PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana


I read it a while back, but enjoyed rereading it as much as the first time. I have forgotten to put your idea to some good use. Thanks for the reminder.

Sue...who feels impish a good bit of the time.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 8:32PM
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I have seen lists on the web how to avoid all the prompts.

I recently talked to Yahoo and was advised to ignore all prompts and it would get me to a warm body.

As usual, customer service is a low priority. We pay their bills so why be concerned?


Here is a link that might be useful: Get Human

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 12:25PM
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Maybe that is a satisfying thing to do, Joyful, but it then eats up even more of your time on the phone. The thing that irks me is when you are asked to punch in your account number and other numbers and info, and then when you get to a human being, you have to repeat it all over again. About that time you realize you are talking to someone in India.

Well, the customer service reps are just people trying to make a buck, trying to survive, like we are. They have to call and hold and push buttons too in their personal lives.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 8:05PM
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The thing that irks me is when you are asked to punch in your account number and other numbers and info, and then when you get to a human being, you have to repeat it all over again.

Yes. Isn't that a lousy way to start an interaction with a company? I used to work in the telecommunications field and I know that you don't have to design "press one to ..." systems as poorly as most of them work. I also know that it is entirely possible to deliver your account number/whatever to the person who eventually answers the call, even if they are in India. When that happens to me, I conduct my business and, then, when I get the inevitable "Is there anything else we can do for you today?", I ask to speak with a supervisor to complain about their phone system. I figure if enough of us do that, things may change. It's not a matter of can't; it's a matter of won't.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 8:48AM
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I once heard a delightful, true story about someone who got his cash card slurped into a machine at the start of a long weekend. He was shuffled from one phone number to another, eventually ending up waiting for some apparently non-existant service person at the end of a long phone chain.

He was one of the people who design these "press 1" systems. So on the Tuesday after the holiday was over, he designed a call system for himself. Every bank number he had called on the weekend received a automated call that began "This is an automated customer complaint," followed by a detail of his complaint and the instruction to "press 1 to speak to a real customer, press 2 to repeat this complaint." On pressing 1 the bank personel got a recorded message that the customer was not available at that time, but that their call was important and they should press 1 to obtain a number where the customer could be reached or press 2 to record a message of apology, detailing what action the bank intended to take.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 3:00PM
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Sock 'em! 12345,

You make a valid point about the person on the other end of the line possibly/quite likely being a person working in a call centre, with a certain quota of contacts to make per hour ...

... so if I waste her/his time ... I'm hurting that person, not the contracting company.

I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for bringing that idea into the discussion.

Next time I'll ask first off if the person is working in a call centre.

As for me wasting my time - if I weren't doing that, I'd probably be here bugging you guys, as this is time-filler time for me.

Don't forget - when you're retired ... every day is holiday.

And the dollars that you invest at age 15, with some added knowledge gained over the years as to how to make them work harder, add a substantial amount to your asset to fund a complex, busy retirement, at, say 60, instead of, maybe ... 65?

Oh Steve,

I agree with you about it not being a case of "can't": I'm not so sure about the "won't".

I think it's a matter of that having been an easy way to set it up and now it just runs that way. That in a number of situations it's somewhat related to their scale of priorities: they have a lot more pressing things to do than revamp the answering mechanism.

If enough of us register our displeasure - it might move that issue up enough higher on their priority scale to cause them to do something about it.

Sort of like when I was a clergyperson, when I went to visit a family sort of on the fringe of our client base (not infrequent, in the case of mainline liberal Protestant churches), they might apologize for not having attended church, participated, etc.

I'd tell them to please not apologize to me: that their system of setting priorities for their personal/family's interest and activities was theirs to decide. That if they felt that being involved with church-related issues was below the red line, that was their choice, and I could live with it.

I might, of course, come along to suggest some activity or interest that was going on, or about to, etc., that might interest them enough to encourage them to participate.

But that how they set their priority system was their family's decision to make.

My additional comment now: if an apology was in order, it should be to God, not me as a clergyperson - I'm merely a messenger.

[[Isn't that dirty pool? Hitting below the belt?]] [[spiritual blackmail? well, not really "blackmail" - how about "bulldozing"?]] Which I find distasteful - won't do it: it doesn't respect the other person's integrity; it isn't democratic, and church people (especially leaders) tend to think that they know-it-all. We refer to is as our "God complex".

It might be well, though, if our priority system is such that we feel the need to *really* apologize for it (apart from window-dressing) ...

... possibly some realignment might be worthy of consideration?

Sort of like budgetting - we really should do it ... but haven't got around to it ... this week ... it's sort of a pain in the butt (even if the long-term gain (might? could well? would almost certainly?) validate the current pain?

Have a great week.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 3:23PM
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Several have said that they are busy and don't have time for such nonsense.

So - it's O.K. for their company to waste my time - but they don't like me wasting theirs?

Too darn bad!, say I.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 12:17PM
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oooh ... I like that one!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 9:21AM
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I do too!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 5:23PM
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Maybe some of you recent comers may like it, as well.

ole joyfoul

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 12:37AM
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If I get someone who is obviously from India, I ask to be transferred to a supervisor in the States. For instance, I had questions about the hockey sports package that DISH offers. I don't think that the person on the other end (from India) had ever even heard of hockey. But the person in the States at least tried to help me. If we all did that, maybe these companies would keep more jobs here instead of sending them overseas.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 3:06PM
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Joyful.....I actually heard that broadcast, didn't realize it was you doing the talking! Valid point. Budster

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 6:16PM
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Hi again Budster,

Son of a gun!

Would you believe it - and that was a long time ago!

The joys of having a national public-service broadcaster!

Oh - but that was not on nation-wide "Cross Country Check-up", late Sunday afternoon, but on the weekday noon program that only went around Ontario. And you live on the west coast (several time zones away).

Were you a resident of that large territory (maybe even bigger than Texas) at that time?

ole joyful

P.S. Many U.S. people in th northern states who can pick up Canadian stations like to listen to CBC radio.

Check their website at

Quite a few of their programs are carried on Sirius 137, also.

o j

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 1:24PM
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Our state just passed a law that at anytime during a message during business hours of 9-5, you MUST be able to press 0 and get a person at anytime during the message. None of this waiting nonsense and then half the time you don't know the category of the issue you want to discuss and try to figure it out, etc.
Try the 0 tip, I bet you will get an operator on those systems. I wonder?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 11:50AM
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Klimkm, what state do you live in? It's good to hear that at least one state is looking out for their people.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 10:17PM
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I think that some milk manufacturing co. that we knew of years ago must have operated in some sort of a backward province/state ...

... for they called their powdered milk by the brand name of "K-L-I-M".

Come to think of it - I haven't heard of them in years ... ages!

Have a lovely remainder-of-week and weekend, everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 6:53PM
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