27 September 2013

IVR-to-English Dictionary

  • Your call is valuable to us. Please stop bothering us.
  • Your call is valuable to us. (Variation for premium rate phone numbers): we make money by keeping you waiting on a premium-rate phone line, and the longer we keep you holding, the more we make.
  • We are currently experiencing exceptionally high call volumes. The call centre is open.
  • All of our operators are currently dealing with other customers. Neither of our operators is currently available.
  • Did you know that you can [long list of things you aren’t calling about] on our website at double-u, double-u, double-u dot ourwebsite dot com? The only good service is self-service.
  • One of our agents will be with you as soon as possible. One, Two, Three, Four, make 'em wait outside the door. Five, six, seven, eight, always pays to make 'em wait.
  • You may prefer to call back at another time. Preferably, once our lines are closed.
  • Please call back later. We’re going to disconnect you right now.
  • Please have your account number and password ready. We may have spent millions building this call centre and collecting data about you but don’t think we’re going to figure out your account number from your phone number.
  • For security reasons. We have crap IT systems that don’t talk to each other.
  • I’ll just need to pop you on hold for a minute. The system is about to drop the call.
  • I’ll just transfer you to the right department. Despite making you walk a telephone tree so we know how to direct your call correctly, we misdirected your call and now the system is about to disconnect you.
  • I’ll call you right back. I’m going home now.
  • Could you just confirm your phone number please? Our crap IT system doesn’t show me the number you’re calling from.
  • I’ll just need to take you through security. Our crap IT system handed you off between departments but didn’t pass on information that you’d cleared security.
  • Please listen carefully and choose from the following options: I’m now going to list four things you didn’t call about.
  • For anything else, type 4. Type 4 for another list of things you aren’t calling about.
  • Would you like to hear that list again? I don’t care that none of the options I listed is remotely relevant to your call. You have to pick a number. Take your time. I have all day.
  • In your own words, describe why you’re calling. You can say things like “to check my balance” or “to pay a bill”. You can say “to check my balance”, or “to pay a bill”. Of course, I might not understand you if you do. Pro tip: No IVR system in the world understands “I need to speak to a human being.”
  • I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that: could you say it a different way? I already told you, the only things I understand are “to check my balance” and “to pay a bill”.
  • You said “to check my balance”. Is that right? I didn’t understand you.
  • Your call may be monitored for customer quality and training purposes. The NSA may be recording this call.
  • If you prefer, we can keep your place in the queue and call you back when an agent is free. We might or might not call you back. If we do, you might find there’s no agent on the other end. And regardless, you’ll have to type in the same security information you’ve already given us again. And even though we’ll have called you, we will still ask you for your phone number because our crap IT systems won’t show it to the agent.
  • Calls to this number from a mobile phone are not free. Just waiting to talk to an agent is going to cost you an arm and a leg.
  • You are calling the international access number from a UK phone. Please redial on 0870 XXX XXXX. We’d really like to charge you through the nose for this call, and ensure that you can’t use bundled minutes or all-you-can-eat plans to cover the cost.
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System. Customer Alienation System. [Definition from Herb Edelstein of Two Crows]

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