Nov 052009

Yesterday morning I received a telephone call from a company acting on behalf of my bank, asking if I would take part in a customer survey – i.e., would I be willing to answer a few questions over the ‘phone? Normally, I’d say “no” to such things, but for various reasons which I won’t go into here, I chose to say “yes” on this occasion.

So the girl at the company undertaking the survey, who was a very polite, friendly young lady, started asking questions – but there was a problem. The line kept cutting out, mid-question, making it difficult for me to understand what she was asking. By cutting out, I mean the line would go completely silent – no background noise at all – the way some of these call centre systems do when the person at the other end isn’t talking; their end tends to completely mute. That’s perfectly normal, but not in the middle of something being said by that person.

I pointed this out to her, and she switched to another line and we tried again. For the first question, things seemed fine, but then it started happening again, so I pointed it out again, and again she switched lines. The result seemed the same, things were fine at first, but the cutting out soon ensued. This time, though, I decided to just carry on – it seemed likely that if I pointed it out again, it might only resolve the problem for a moment, and it would be back.

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