If Automated Customer Service Lines Were Honest

If Automated Customer Service Were Honest

Expectations for customer service around the globe are different. I can remember walking unacknowledged into a busy restaurant in Greece only to leave because we didn’t get how it worked (and told later by someone from Greece we should have just barged in and found ourselves a table).

Not only do practices vary by culture, but even by business and industry.

One thing now commonplace, at least in USAmerican Business, and the bane of existence for many is the use of automated customer service systems.

Yes, that outgoing voice is forever calm and cheerful. But sometimes they are so ridiculous, you think, “Okay, they have to be messing with me!” I would love to hear playback recordings of things people shout into their phones the third time they are told “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you. Could you repeat that?”

But here’s my take on what they would say…

If Automated Customer Service Lines Were Honest


Thank you for calling. On behalf of our shareholders, we value your business.

To better serve you, please listen to the following options. To pay your bill, press 1; to find a location near you press 2…

Your estimated wait time is 45 minutes. We’re so sorry if that could possibly cause you any inconvenience.

A representative will be with you shortly. While you are holding, did you know the term “shortly” means different things in different industries? If you are calling a cable company, “shortly” means 5 to 8 hours. For government agencies, “shortly” means “never.” Press 6 to learn more about the origin of the word “shortly.”

…if you liked the movie Frozen, but only saw it once, press 8; if you have a good relationship with your mother, but not your father, press 9…

If you get disconnected in the process of transferring you to the person you really need to talk to, please know it’s not on purpose. The people who designed the system have never had to call it. They just call Maude in accounting. To reach Maude in accounting, press 15…

Hello. If you are calling back after previously being disconnected and know your option number, press it now. Sorry you’ll have to start over from the beginning. Please hold. We’ll be with you shortly.

….if you wear blue on Mondays and brown on Wednesdays but never wear yellow, press 23. If you usually bring your lunch to work, press 24…

Did you know?  There have only been 10 cases of human spontaneous combustion throughout history and none were related to being on hold. Press 35 to hear more about the history of spontaneous combustion.

Are you still there? To have written instructions mailed to your home, press 42. When they arrive, press any key to continue.

We appreciate your business. If you die while on hold, we’ll give you one month of service free. Press 57 with your dying breath to take advantage of this offer.

Press # to repeat these options. Oh, wait…you’re dead. Next caller…

What do you imagine Automated Customer Service lines saying?