Earlier today I spent a little bit of time waiting to talk to a person at Time Warner Cable (I wanted to know if the digitial audio out on my cable box was actually functional). While on hold I thought about how we could improve the time spent on the phone.
One of the chapters in Faster by James Gleick discusses the ways of the technical help number. He talks about how the companies maximize their operators' time by installing these "sophisticated" phone systems. According to the book, "The software industry alone leaves Americans waiting on hold for an estimated three billion minutes a year." I don't expect this to change anytime soon, but they can at least make my time more enjoyable. Here is my customer support line wishlist:
- Tell us approximately how long we will be waiting. If it's going to be 10 minutes, I want to know.
- Do not tell us "thank you for your patience" every thirty seconds. Just let me tune out the music please.
- When the call starts let me punch in my extension immediately. I don't need to listen to whatever corporate branding and promotion you have to offer.
- Allow me to press zero or some other number to speak to an operator. Sometimes I don't know what department I need.
- If you ask for my account or phone number and it isn't in your records, please don't hang up on me. Tivo did this and it was very annoying.
- Give me a choice of music. Wouldn't it be great if you heard, "You have a 3 minute wait time. Press 1 to listen to jazz, 2 to listen classical, or 3 for the all Yanni channel." At least you'd have a choice.
Add your own wishes in the comments.