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All our operators are busy on a call...

hadden
Grafter
Posts: 486
Thanks: 2
Registered: 27-07-2007

All our operators are busy on a call...

I rarely need to phone Customer Services, but earlier this evening I had a matter for which the policy is to handle it by a phone call.
So, I made the call...
I was treated to the standard operators busy message... it was about 8.30pm so things should have been reasonably quiet and it should only be a few minutes...
However something about the hold message wording caught my attention. The lady said something along the lines of "all our operators are busy on a call", to which my imagination conjured up an image of a crowd of folk around a single handset, answering one support call at a time. As the message is repeated every so often had several opportunities to hear it again, and I began to wonder if my imagination was accurate.
That hold message was mildly disconcerting,  but the noise in between was much more disturbing...
At first I thought I was listening to some early nineties mobile phone tune that was stuck in a loop. However that sound ended and another one started, this time with a voice.
I will assume that the "singer" was a professional (or at least somebody paid him some money), but the performance seemed more like that produced by a Saturday night pub singer, just before they get chucked out.
... it was dreary stuff.  Sad
After enduring 10 minutes if this dirge, the call was terminated in the only way appropriate to the experience... by the sound of a click and me getting cut-off...
I thought one purpose of hold music was to cheer up the caller so that any "attitude" that they may have had when they commenced the call should have dissipated by the time they got to speak to a human being. At least that used to be how it worked on me Smiley
However, I found this audio horror just seemed to have the opposite effect and reduced a relaxed placid creature like me into a growling grumbling ogre.  Angry
So, apologies to the CS person who had to listen to my brief moan, after I made a more successful second call, especially as he seemed to handle my request quite successfully.
There, I think I feel better now...
17 REPLIES
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

I am a plunet customer and for my day job to earn a crust I work in a technical support facility behind one of those dreadful handfling systems which are unfortunately a necessary evil otherwise you'd be making a lot of use of ring back and the music on ours is dire too.
However, if you want anything resembling decent music you have to pay a lot of money to licence it (someone raised this at a team meeting when our system was being replaced and the boss enquired and it was some ridiculous figure so we stuck with the generic music it came with as she said she would rather spend the money on recruiting more staff to provide good service and minimise the hold time)
I'm sure Plusnet would think the same.
Maybe it was a karoke session on a company night out you were listening to.  Grin
Have to say though I've not been a customer very long and had a bit of a bumpy migration (due to the software on my own router misbehaving as it turned out) but have found the support provided by Plusnet to be the best out of any provider I have used, staffed by people like myself that want to help customers rather than just going through the motions while reading a script.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

yeah.  nobody heard of beethoven's choral fantasy?  great cheerer upper music.  would you need a license for that?
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

Heh I still need to go and check that piece out after you mentioned it in another thread. Alas it would still need to be licensed because, whilst the original score wouldn't be copyrighted any longer, the performance would be (unless it's a very, very old recording.) And, to be honest, I'm not really sure that sort of music is good for a phone line - the quality of audio from a telephone is so poor that it's better suited to music with much more simple textures.
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

Audio quality on telephones is dire (because of course it was designed to carry speech as opposed to anything else)
Apparently a new codec (the software or hardware component responsible for encoding and decoding sound) is due to be launched on 3G mobiles called Wideband Adaptive Multi Rate (WAMR) which will allegedly deliver CD quality sound under optimum conditions, not sure whether it'll appear on new landlines anytime soon though but suppose it depends on how the next gen network rollouts go for telcos across the world, then you'll get the warbling crystal clear  Grin
But we degress, as Be3G said any performance has to be licenced, could be worse though, I recently rang O2's Pay As You Go Customer Service line and wa treated to 10 loops of their jingle featured in their TV ads while they looked up the information needed to answer my query (should point out though have always received excellent service as a customer of their mobile phone service)
I have since discovered that this little ditty is called 'When Johnny comes marching home', after 10 loops of it I was ready for knocking myself out but luckily a nice human being came back on the line with an answer before I did so.
You can see the ad on youtube here http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=dT2PlVf9P5A

So I'd have the pub singer please, or maybe PN could commission Vic Reevews to do some songs in a club style as he used to do on Shooting Stars as a mickey take.

avalon
Grafter
Posts: 361
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

Quote from: techguy
I have since discovered that this little ditty is called 'When Johnny comes marching home'

When I hear that tune it always brings to mind an image of Slim Pickens riding a massive nuclear bomb out of the hold of a B52 in the movie Dr Strangelove. Grin
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

oh boy, was that funny!  Cheesy
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,486
Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

Quote from: techguy
Audio quality on telephones is dire (because of course it was designed to carry speech as opposed to anything else)
Apparently a new codec (the software or hardware component responsible for encoding and decoding sound) is due to be launched on 3G mobiles called Wideband Adaptive Multi Rate (WAMR) which will allegedly deliver CD quality sound under optimum conditions, not sure whether it'll appear on new landlines anytime soon though but suppose it depends on how the next gen network rollouts go for telcos across the world, then you'll get the warbling crystal clear  Grin

Yes - but they wouldn't set simple  telephone circuits to a bandwidth and dynamic range suitable for CD quality sound would they - bandwidth always costs money.
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

@artificer
Must add Dr. Strangelove to my DVD rental list as have never seen it.
@mal0z
No it is unlikely in the immediate future but who knows what new compression methods maybe round the corner, particularly from the likes of the boffins as Fraunhofer
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,486
Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

Quote from: techguy
@mal0z
No it is unlikely in the immediate future but who knows what new compression methods maybe round the corner, particularly from the likes of the boffins as Fraunhofer

Oh yes - but the solution would need to work with ALL phones - landlines / cellphones  / exchanges / etc etc
At the moment your high tech cellular phone can still work connected to an old fashioned carbon insert phone - as possibly used by Noel Edmonds on Deal or No Deal - technology about 80 to 100 years apart.  Cheesy
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

I wouldn't know about Deal or No Deal, I avoid it like the plague, Rory Bremner's impersonation does amuse me though.
avalon
Grafter
Posts: 361
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

Quote from: techguy
Must add Dr. Strangelove to my DVD rental list as have never seen it.

You won't regret it, it's brilliant!
jnelson
Grafter
Posts: 45
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

@johnj
Thanks for the feedback about the experience you had last Sunday calling us.
The hold music is an area we realise can cause people to lose their marbles on as whats someones preference is like nails down a blackboard to another, so we arent going to be in a place to please everyone all the time. Due to this though we had a poll at the start of the year to see what people would like to choose and the winner was Classic Rock, so its that option we have gone with since, probably just as well we didnt choose my choice ;-)
http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,59071.0.html
However we'll keep listening (pardon the pun) to what people would prefer and if this grows into an area where people would like us to refresh the music type we will be only too happy to see what we can do.
If it helps you time the call to us to minimise the music you have to listen too can I recommend that you check out our live call stats below for when we are busy
http://www.plus.net/supportpages.html?a=212&supporta=rhmcallstats
I know that on Sunday the longest wait after 8pm was from 8pm-8.30pm at 07m 13secs so we are trying to answer the calls asap, and generally Sunday evening is a really good time to get us with minimum waiting.
timlake
Grafter
Posts: 67
Registered: 13-10-2008

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

You know what you should have?  A mini-quiz!
Just a load of questions which give us something to think about while on hold.  In my experience hold time always feels longer because you aren't doing anything except waiting so maybe a few questions to engage with would help.  Perhaps even a multiple choice quiz with a press 1-4 to answer and then when the CS person answers they can tell you how you did.
Maybe not  Embarrassed
hadden
Grafter
Posts: 486
Thanks: 2
Registered: 27-07-2007

Re: All our operators are busy on a call...

Thanks for the response.
Sorry the poll had passed me by in January, but I would probably have gone for the Classic Rock option as well.
Towards the end of the second call, I was put on hold briefly and did catch a little bit of Oasis, so the earlier stuff may have been a maverick that had slipped into the selection. It was neither rock nor classic.
It's not really a major issue, but it was 10 minutes of my life that could have passed by less painfully.
Regarding the 7m 13s waiting time, I've got Home Phone Anytime+ and I've attached what the Recent Calls list shows about the 10 minutes unanswered phone call followed by the 8 minute non-waiting call. I had also just glanced at the call duration display on my handset and it said 9m 57 seconds, then a few seconds later I was cut-off.
In case anybody wonders why I was dialling an 0845 number (ie a chargeable call), the web site instructions clearly say to dial the Cancellation Team phone number and the 0114 number for the Cancellation Team is not published.
@timlake
The idea appeals to me, but I might just get to like the quiz more than I should and not want to get back off hold again  Roll eyes