If companies were required to truthfully explain things, you might hear this when you called a business on the telephone.
“Thank you for calling. Your call is very important to us, but not so important that we’ll actually answer it. Instead we’ve installed this automated telephone attendant, also called a communication prevention system. This system will discourage many callers who will then hang up. While it may cost us thousands in lost business it means we don’t have to hire someone for nine bucks an hour to answer the telephone.
“If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it at any time. However, if you know your party’s extension you are probably a spouse, close friend or golfing buddy rather than a customer. If you don’t know your party’s extension press 1 for a directory. Once again, this is helpful for friends and acquaintances but not very helpful for people contacting us about business.
“You may prefer to access information by using our web site which is available 24 hours a day. Of course if you’re calling about a computer problem, that’s about the most worthless advice we can give you. The advantage to us is that we can ignore your problem until we’re in the mood to answer it. Given that this is football season and we have lots to discuss about recent games, don’t hold your breath.
“At this time we are experiencing heavy call volumes, so there may be an extended wait. This is also because we don’t want to hire people. It’s much easier to blame it on heavy call volumes than poor staffing.
“You may press two to leave a message and we’ll return your call. This is like the on-line option, so if we decide to return your call, we’ll call when convenient for us. Could be today. Could be next week. Who knows?
“If you choose to stay on the line, your call will be routed to the next available customer service representative. This person is located in some forsaken third world country where they work cheap. Do not expect to understand what the agent is saying because they only have a very limited use of English. This is not normally a problem as they have neither the knowledge nor the authority to resolve your problem.
“Let me share a little secret. Perhaps it would be better just to accept the fact that you bought our product. We have your money. We no longer have any interest in you until you’re ready to purchase a replacement in three years. At that time we’ll show some glitzy television commercial, jack our price up but throw in an attractive rebate. Many people either forget to send for the rebate or forget one of the many requirements, so we usually get to keep that money. At worst, if you do dot every I and cross every t on the rebate form we get an interest free loan from you for three or four months.
So in other words, why don’t you just go away?
“Thank you and have a nice day.”