"On hold," or so they say

Just when you thought it was safe to relax and let one rip while waiting endlessly on hold with customer support, this CNET News.com article had to spoil the day. Sure, the little recorded voice always says at the outset that this call may be monitored...blah blah blah. You could argue that we were fairly warned, but who really expects there to be a person monitoring the call? If only the monitor would talk back, you could get in a couple good games of Hangman to pass the idle minutes.

In case you're curious about the legalities of recording phone conversations, this site has a decent summary. If you're really interested, you can peruse Title 18 of the US Code, which lays out the federal laws regarding interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications.

I suppose if you're really paranoid about being recorded, you can always make requests by mail. Or, simply remember not to stray from your objective while the line is open, even while you're on hold. To stay on topic, you could employ the same technique that many companies already use to guide support calls. Imagine the following call:

Hello, welcome to Acme Support. Your call may be monitored for quality assurance. Press 1 for account information, 2 for password assistance, 3 for PC support, or 4 for arch support. For all other calls, please stay on the line and an underpaid representative who will pretend to give a crap will be on the line shortly.


Hello, this is Dennis. How may I help you?


Hello, welcome to this support call. This call may be monitored for quality assurance. Press 1 to ask for my customer ID, 2 to hear a litany of my grievances regarding an Acme product, 3 to offer useless advice, or 4 to refer me to another department. For all other attempts at support, please stay on the line and a pissed off customer who will blame you personally for your employer's shoddy operation will be on the line shortly.

Ah, technology. Ain't it great?