4 Nov 2003

Touch Tone

Tony and I were ‘actioned’ with the task of writing scripts for the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) by the sales stream. Technology wiz-kids who were brought up on those ‘choose your own adventure’ books for kids invented IVR to trap us all in a labyrinth. Instead of populating the maze with dragons and trolls, it is filled with wage slaves and dead ends.

This is the first one we came up with:

“Thank you for calling. You will now be given a series of options designed to keep you on hold for as long as possible while we get our act together. It will take three or four attempts to follow these instructions.

Press the hash key now.

Thanks for doing that. You have made your first mistake. Now we KNOW you have a touchtone phone so we have got you here for good.

Please enter your account number, or press hash again if you are a new customer.

Now you have made your second mistake. Never admit you are an existing customer, you’ll be queue jumped by all those that are new.

Press 1:
A recorded message by a woman with a really shrill voice telling you about ‘known’ problems with postage in the London area. Click. You are abruptly cut off

Press 2:
An addled version of Moon River intercut with reassuring statements (“your call is important to us” (yeah, right)) and vague promises, (“you are moving forward in the queue and will be answered shortly”.)

Press 3:
As above, but you’ll eventually be answered by Piltdown man, who will grunt “you're through to the wrong department”, put you on hold until you give up or are cut off.

Press 4:
Because you have missed the previous options you will always press 4. This has an advert that is on a loop. You hear it from half way through, it catches your interest, but cuts into Moon River before you get any more details."

Call Centre Tony grinned, “Robert is your auntie’s live in lover.”