You know you’ve heard it. It’s the dreaded warning that you’ll be listening to scratchy music interspersed with short ads upselling you or encouraging you to get answers online for the next 30-40 minutes before you hear a couple of beeps and your call is unceremoniously dropped.
The messages to get your answers online instead are particularly galling, since anyone with a brain and an Internet connection nowadays will do ANYTHING to avoid having to get on the phone since we know that entails at least an hour of Muzak-overrun purgatory. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve emailed my bank, Internet provider, or other service and gotten a canned email response saying that they would love to help me with my inquiry if I would just call them at their toll-free number.
Let’s think about what years of “unusually high call volumes” really means. It means that call volumes are unexpectedly high, even higher than they were last year, when they were unexpectedly high, too. That implies that the number of calls has been growing exponentially for years, even if they were stupid enough to imagine that, after every year of call volume growth, the next year’s call volumes would grow linearly.
Now, let’s assume “normal call volumes” were those experienced at approximately 3:17am on a balmy August morning, back in 1987, otherwise known as the Pre-Call Center Era. The growth that would have had to occur since then in order to justify the “unusually heavy call volumes” claim would probably necessitate about 86% of the planet to be working at a call center right now.
In fact, we would all have to be simultaneously calling call centers from multiple numbers, and answering multiple calls, after, of course, each call had been sitting in queue for at least 30 minutes.
Another annoyance: “Your call is very important to us.” If that were true, don’t you think they would hire more people so that they could answer calls promptly? Or maybe they really mean, “Your call is very important to us, but your time isn’t”?