Yesterday I had to make a load of phonecalls.
For reasons that I won't go into now [or in the future, for that matter] I had to phone a load of banks, gubmint departments and my old employer.
Whenever I am about do embark on such a dangerous endeavour, I always prepare myself in advance. I had a notepad with all the questions and figures relevant to each call, a full pipe and a steaming mug of tea. I began my quest.
I decided to get the gubmint one over first as they are always a pain in the hole – endless menus before you eventually get to someone who tells you you're on to the wrong department and you have to start all over again. This time however, I got straight onto a very helpful person without going through any menus. She knew exactly what I wanted and said she'd post me the information straight away. A fucking miracle if ever there was one.
I had two calls to make to my ex-employer. The first one was to an extension where I knew the number. The phone was answered straightaway by a very helpful girl who did my bidding with no problems at all.
The second call, I didn't know the number so I had to phone the switchboard. They didn't have a menu as such, just a long dreary message of about five paragraphs which essentially told me how I could phone directly if I knew the extension [and if I knew the fucking extension I wouldn’t be phoning the main fucking switch] and that RTE were sponsors of the Arts or some such crap [like I care?]. Then the whole message was repeated in Irish. Sigh! Anyhows I got through to the girl who instantly connected me to the right department. A fucking answering machine! I phoned the switchboard again [and had to listen to all that bilingual shite again] and told the girl what had happened and could she give me the extension number. She did, and then said she'd try a different extension for me. She promptly cut me off. Fuck that. I tried the number she'd given me but they must have been on a five hour coffee break. I left a message for them to phone me. They never did.
My next call was to my bank. I got straight through without any hassles, warnings about calls being recorded or keyboard menus. I got onto a very nice chap who told me I could get what I wanted on-line. I told him I knew about the online shit but could he please send me the stuff I wanted by post. He muttered something about emailing me my request and that was that. I never got the email.
My last call made my day.
I had to phone Rabo Direct which as you probably know is one of those on-line banks.
I dialed the number, got a short message, got straight onto a bloke who dealt with my query almost instantly.
What cheered me most was the message when I first rang.
I am well used to the old crap about "all our calls may be recorded and may be used for training purposes" and I frequently wonder if anyone ever listens to those damn tapes. I think it's mainly to stop me swearing at people down the phone [not that it does]. Either that or it’s to stop them swearing at me [a fact which I use to great advantage].
Rabo had a slightly different approach though which cheered me greatly. I can't remember the precise words but the message was short and sweet It was along the lines of..
"Please be aware your call may or may not be recorded. We like to keep our staff on their toes".