The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I was reading one of my old posts... I do that often, sadly. It's about calling tech support. And the waiting that this often entails. I wrote it almost 3 years ago. Sadly, things haven't improved much.

It reminded me of something I learned while I was working for that huge telecommunications corporation. I was working in the OSPS (I am no longer sure what that acronym stands for... something about operator services) which connects you to an operator and provides other services.

One of the services that machine provided was announcement systems for various corporations and businesses. Most of the customers of such services were airlines and others who get a lot of calls. What it provided was those annoying voice menus we all hate.

But about the same time as this adjunct system which provided the announcements and voice menus was being installed, I learned of a survey taken a couple of years previously that had sampled public opinion about telephone menu systems. One of the things that survey revealed was that callers wanted to speak to a human. And they basically hated canned music, canned voices, and menus to wend their way through to get to that human.

So, here was this telecom giant putting in a service most people hated. On the other hand, I am willing to bet there was another survey run about the same time that sampled corporate opinion about these menu systems. And I am also willing to bet that the majority opinion in that survey loved them. Especially the kind that the telecom giant was developing. That system used a clever artificial voice system that pieced together words and phrases in such a way as to seem seamless to the human ear.

Why do corporations like these things? Because the cost of the service is incredibly cheaper than providing sufficient staff to handle the calls or contracting with a service who would provide the staffing off-site (also at considerable savings).

And what has all this evolved into? Now you call into tech support, get a voice menu, which eventually gets you to some off-shore site where a tech who speaks only enough English to confuse you completely eventually answers the phone.

Eventually, I expect this to evolve to the point where you are conversing happily with a machine in China and explaining why you are unhappy with the As Seen On TV product you bought a few weeks ago.

Progress is wonderful...

No comments: