Having just spent two half-hour sessions in queue to reach a business entity, I can’t help but wonder if there are better options to the idiocy we are forced to hear on the wait to speak with a representative. In this case, I listened to the invitation for a call back at least fifteen times, my position in queue that began at 85, and reminders that most information can be found on the organization’s website.

The fact that this was a federal organization explains the redundancies and lack of creativity. But between all of these repetitive messages, there was also some equally ridiculous electronic music. My question becomes, what are the alternatives?

Can we improve the customer experience by reducing the number of messages to one or two per minute rather than an endless round of spoken comments? One alternative is to handle enough representatives to reduce the size of the queue. While I realize that some of these are time-sensitive sites that are driven by tax or enrollment deadlines, it would be easy enough to hire temporary staff to reduce the queues.

What else can be done? Should they insert some comedian who introduces a series of jokes that are inoffensive and clean? Should there be a minute of music, followed by a minute or thirty seconds of explanatory information? Maybe this would be a good project for a very clever group of high school or college students – to create new and incredibly clever ways to eliminate call center boredom.

Maybe we should find a way to bill the companies that we are calling for our time. If we are paying them in any way, we can reduce the payment proportionate to the time they keep us on ignore (hold). Having worked for a number of years in a call center, it was my goal to reduce the amount of time that anyone was on hold and I remember speaking with many clients who appreciated my diligence. I’m thinking that this organization would have many more happy customers if they deleted the half-hour queues.

While I realize that this is not an issue of monumental proportion, it does seem to me that we should take any opportunity we can find to improve the lives of others. Maybe someone will take this cue to delete the queue. Shalom.

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