January 2, 2006

Please hold.

After spending 17 minutes on hold to BT Openzone while I was sitting in a Starbucks on Tottenham Court Road recently, I gave up waiting when I realised that my coffee would be cold by the time everything was sorted out anyway.

Being put on hold doesn't annoy me in itself. Wandering through a couple of menus before being transferred to a human doesn't annoy me either. But sitting on hold for ages simply to get to talk to a person at all infuriates me. I just don't see how some companies think it's okay to have customers and potential customers twiddling their thumbs for 15 minutes or more while your call handling system repeatedly tells them how important their call is. Most people have got better things to do, and being told that "your call is very important to us" at the same time as being told to hey, just stay on hold and be patient is, well, as Sparks once put it, sending mixed signals.

Yes, there are various allegedly-magic digits you can dial while navigating various phone systems' menus, but these only dump you out of the menu systems and into the hold queue. And even if they bump you up the hold queue.. well, that's not really fair on everyone else who still has to wait.

Also, I was in need of a small project to learn about Ruby on Rails, so I sat down and fiddled with things for a bit and behold, the first incarnation of Holdlog is now available. It's pretty ugly because I'm not a web designer or CSS guru, but it works. Well, there are probably some bugs too, but nothing fatal that I know of.

Please do have a look at it (not that there's much to see at the moment - it needs people to start inputting data for it to get useful) and start timing your own holds... Oh, and tell your friends, of course. Naturally.

Posted by mpk at January 2, 2006 4:06 PM

You need an additional option - for bastards who keep you on hold for N minutes and then dump you with a cheery comment to say they are too busy to speak to you now, you have to try later.

Then I could add Pixmania who presumably think that by ingoring my mails and calls for seven business days they can also avoid returned goods. Look out for a rant on their dodgy business practices soon...

Posted by: hypatia at January 2, 2006 10:16 PM


Posted by: Nick Caulfield at January 4, 2006 4:34 PM
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