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IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

For a truly soul-numbing experience, try being put on hold by Volvo Insurance for several minutes. Last time I called them (some years back, admittedly), their hold muzak was a loop about 10 seconds long...

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Anonymous Coward

I hate Vivaldi because of BT

As anyone who had to deal with BT for something non-standard (in my case "downgrade" from ISDN to DSL), I cannot stand the 4 seasons. Every time I start listening to them I hear not what is coming out of the speakers, but a version which has been vandalized for 64bit PCM coming out of a tinny speakerphone....

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Re: I hate Vivaldi because of BT

I'm not sure if it was BT or O2, who I recently had the pleasure of listening to for an hour.

But what drove me mad was that despite the hold music being a pleasant piece of Chopin, I think, every time the "your call is important to us, please hold" message came on, it restarted the music from the beginning.

How bloody annoying that is!

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Re: I hate Vivaldi because of BT

Halifax are another bunch with ****ing vivaldi....

But then it usually takes from spring to winter for the arseholes to answer the phone......

Oh yeah they also add "Your call is important to us" every 30 seconds too

I got so fed up I decided to give them 1 last call.... to tell them I was shutting the account....

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Re: Halifax are another bunch with ****ing vivaldi....

I think Halifax phone banking is great. The trick is not answering when they ask you to say what you want. Dial the phone banking no. (03457 20 30 40), key in your account code, sort code and the 2 digits they ask for from your pin, then press *0. Wait till it starts to say something, press *0, wait again, last *0 then all you'll hear is a phone ringing till they answer. Most they've kept me waiting is about 3 minutes but normally it's less than a minute. And the call centre's in the UK.

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Terminator

Re: Halifax are another bunch with ****ing vivaldi....

@ sabroni "Press *0 to skip the a

IME the key combination is "*0#" and it works on other phone systems too, not just Halifax. On a phone system that doesn't specifically recognise "*0#" as the "speak to a person" shortcut, it just treats it as an erroneous response - do it enough and it gives up and routes your call to a meat bag.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Halifax are another bunch with ****ing vivaldi....

"The trick is not answering when they ask you to say what you want"

facepalm, why oh why did you HAVE TO REVEAL THAT TRICK?! I used this technique FOR YEARS. Now the world knowS, and halifax know, and these (...) will fix it!

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I don't mind beeps, I don't mind music.

Just don't keep me hanging on for 30 minutes telling me every 30 seconds how ******** important my call is whilst I'm 305th in the queue also sort out the damn volume level between that message and the music so I'm not deafened by one or the other, then unable to immediately hear the call handler who's whispering in afterwards.

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@Halfmad -- Re: I don't mind beeps, I don't mind music.

^^^^ THAT!!!!! Applies to any center. I wish there were a lot more upvotes I could give and some way of hammering this into every call center (except the Indian, for obvious reason) in the world.

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Re: @Halfmad -- I don't mind beeps, I don't mind music.

Even more annoying than the volume difference is the variable split-second gap between the music and the "Your call is important" that makes you think they've just answered. The really Evil bastards will stop the music, ring, pause.. and "Your call is important", and go back to the music.

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There's a simpler solution. ANSWER THE BLOODY PHONE.

Obligatory Dilbert: http://dilbert.com/strip/1998-10-13

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"ANSWER THE BLOOD PHONE".

This. If companies keep me hanging on the phone with messages, music, beeps, "your call is important blah blah blah" then I quickly switch to doing business with other companies. I have very little patience for this shit nowadays. Especially so when the music is so loud you have to hold the phone away from your ear and when the call centre person in Mumbai finally answers they are barely audible and can't resolve your query anyway so put you back on hold again to find someone else, who also cannot resolve the query so transfer your call back to the UK again to speak to someone just up the road. Yes Barclays I'm thinking of you. Or rather I'm not, because I closed my account due to your appalling customer service.

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@Doctor Syntax: This one works too:

http://dilbert.com/strip/1999-05-10

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http://dilbert.com/strip/1999-05-10

Love the punchline on that one.

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I figured someone would have gone with, as the other end of the problem:

http://dilbert.com/strip/2006-01-09

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Pirate

Or go Full BOFH™ and make them fear calling you. Imagine how many people wouldn't call up their phone provider if the call centre staff could get some decent current down the bell wire.

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Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

IBM - "Getting Smaller" by Nine Inch Nails

Amazon - "Return To Sender" by Elvis Presley

Tesla - "Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant

Fisker Inc. / Fisker Automotive - "Together in Electric Dreams" by Phil Oakey

I'll let others take over from here.

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Trollface
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Trollface

Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Marillion - The answering machine

Genesis - No Reply At All

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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Blondie - Call me

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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Never There -- CAKE

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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Lancia - you and me 'till the wheels fall off - L7

Cadburys - 'Heaven' (far too many to list)

Crapita on behalf of TV Licencing - 'Stand and deliver' by Adam and the Ants

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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

"Blondie - Call me"

Surely you mean "Hanging on the Telephone"!

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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

BT: "Come Talk to me" by Peter Gabriel

Battersea Dogs Home: "Dogs" by Pink Floyd.

Fisher-Price Toys: "Radioactive Toy" by Porcupine Tree

Google: "Off the Map" by Porcupine Tree

The UK Government: "The Vultures Fly High" by Renaissance.

Papworth Cardiac Hospital: "Closer to the Heart" - Rush.

Every politician everywhere: "O cho mealt" - Runrig[1]

SpaceX: "Falling for Forever" - Spock's Beard

[1] "Ach chuala sinn mu dheireadh thall, Na briagan's na faclan falamh, O cho meallt is a tha an saoghal" - "But all we heard at the end of the day, Were lies and empty words, There is much deception in the world".

One of the few Runrig song to not have the English translation included in the sleeve notes. Largely because it would have got them sued by their former wannabe record company..

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Devil

Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Kraftwerk - Der Telefonanruf

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Big Brother

Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Google: Every Breath You Take - The Police

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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

ELO Telephone Line

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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Any call centre: On Hold by the XX

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

You say it best when you say nothing at all - Ronan Keating

Anon because my employer actually uses this for its hell desk!

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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Blossom Dearie - Brr brr brr busy line.

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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

A mate was working for $corporate entity many moons ago; Was rostered on over the Christmas break.

Since he had access to the phone system, he brought in a mix tape and duly inserted it into the on-hold system.

His manager complimented him on his taste in music, but mentioned that the Dead Kennedys was perhaps inappropriate in a business setting. Apparently Frigging in the rigging and To drunk to fuck wasn't to a customers liking over said Christmas Hols :)

He didn't get fired though; So that was a bonus

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Holmes

Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Uber: Elvis Costello - Watching The Detectives

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Angel

Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

Morris Dancers, then I'd sit there imagining the sounds of clubs and stomping are made by actually assaulting the flesh and bones of CEx's who forced me to call their stupid support line.

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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

A real example from long ago as I waited in a call cue on a transatlantic help desk call

Borland International - Blondie - Hanging On The Telephone

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er - call holding in *2017*

given the technology to implement a call-back-on-busy system must be ... oooo 20 years old what kind of neolithic outfits are requiring their customers to hold ?

Antler pick manufacturers.

The older I get, the less time I have for this shit. What the fuck was the point of getting excited about the future in the 1970s if this is what it is now ?

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Re: er - call holding in *2017*

Tomorrow's World has a lot to answer for ... raising false hope in an entire generation.

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Re: er - call holding in *2017*

@JimmyPage: "given the technology to implement a call-back-on-busy system must be ... oooo 20 years old what kind of neolithic outfits are requiring their customers to hold ?"

What kind of business is going to call customers back at their own expense, especially when they can get the customers to call a premium number?

Might as well throw money down the toilet...

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Re: er - call holding in *2017*

"What kind of business is going to call customers back at their own expense"

One worth being a customer of.

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Re: er - call holding in *2017*

"what kind of neolithic outfits are requiring their customers to hold ?"

Let me see. It's probably a premium number. You're on hold, to said number, waiting waiting waiting.

Ketching.

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Meh

Re: er - call holding in *2017*

"What the fuck was the point of getting excited about the future in the 1970s"

because the 1970's were so very very very very shit

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Re: er - call holding in *2017*

"because the 1970's were so very very very very shit"

Oh, I don't know about that...

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – Ian Dury & The Blockheads

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Re: er - call holding in *2017*

And when the company receptionist gets the call, is she supposed to ring every extension in the company to find out who was expecting a call-back?

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To be fair...

Woah, customer service lines in the UK are premium lines? That is crazy, and you must put a stop to it, immediately! In the US pretty much every company has a toll-free customer service line; even if they make you pay for service, you still call on a toll free line and give your CC, bill your account, whatever.

Some sort of call when no longer busy scheme seems to make a lot of sense here. Amazon does it, but other than that it seems pretty rare here as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To be fair...

Woah, customer service lines in the UK are premium lines? That is crazy,

Presumably that's how they pay for the long-distance service to India, and the salaries of call center employees (about 10p a day per person)

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Re: er - call holding in *2017*

"What the fuck was the point of getting excited about the future in the 1970s if this is what it is now ?"

I wish you hadn't said that. It makes me sad that we've made a world built on crap.

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Re: To be fair...

"Woah, customer service lines in the UK are premium lines?"

They aren't. In fact the rules for premium lines specifically prohibit it.

But we do have a set of not-strictly-premium but not-bundled and therefore more expensive than usual numbers where the called party gets a cut of the termination fee.

Basically our incompetent regulator created loads of loopholes and the ingenious phone companies drove a horse and cart through them.

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Re: er - call holding in *2017*

In the 1970s, did you imagine you'd be able to publish your generic discontent to an audience of millions, for nearly zero effort and zero cost?

It's amazing what people will put up with, provided they're free to whine about it. Take away that freedom, however, and watch the gutters run red. (As witness those idiots who try to stop people posting bad reviews.)

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FWIW, we get to find out (or invent) whatever post-post-post-modernism is.

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Re: er - call holding in *2017*

"Oh, I don't know about that..."

I'll give you that but I think that's more of an exception than the rule :)

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Pint

I'm with JP, disappointed with "the future"

REF:What the fuck was the point of getting excited about the future in the 1970s if this is what it is now ?

PP

>>One for you Jimmy.

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