I just had a call from Homebase — or was it Argos? They weren’t sure. It was a robot who called me; one with a surreal mid-Atlantic accent. It asked me to press one if I was the person expecting the delivery. I duly did the phone dance that happens with mobiles when you are trying to listen and press keys at the same time. Success!
I was then put through to a ringing tone which went on a bit. Hang on, you rang me Homebase, not the other way round. Then: “We’re sorry, but we cannot put you through to an agent at the moment. Goodbye.” Then ‘it’ rang off.
Was this a prank? No, just usual corporate nonsense. A slavish belief that automatic call-handling systems are a neat idea and should be trusted with your biggest asset — a buying customer. Let’s agree — they are a bad idea. They don’t work and we all hate them.
You might also like
Don’t get me wrong, they can be useful. There are those workshops where people slap them around on walls with words like ‘OPTIMISM’ and ‘EMPOWERMENT’ scrawled on them. I am sure that can help but it’s a bit earnest for my taste. I prefer quiet reflection.
Notices are one of those things that give me nervous twitches. If you want a clue about what an organisation is like, read its notices. A notice is so often a sign of a glitch in the works. For the sake of my sanity, I have named these glitches cucumbers.
I used to be quite calm about door wedges before I worked at Fireco. Even on fire doors. In hotels, universities, factories – in any place you can think of, the door wedge rules. It’s cheap, it’s effective and it’s lethal.