Automated call systems just drive me to distraction. There is nothing more irritating than calling a company with a quick query (that you you’ve already spent hours trying to find the answer to online) only to end up trawling your way through a series of random options. At the end of which, you frequently end up none the wiser than you were to start with.

I long for the day when we return to some kind of simplicity with these things. I can just about manage to survive a 1 for Sales, 2 for Customer Services, 3 for ….. etc but it’s the subheadings and sub-sub headings that follow which cause me to reach for a large glass of wine.

Then there are also the automated voice recognition systems where you have to speak basic details such as your name, date of birth and nature of enquiry before you can be transferred. I am not overly convinced that these systems are regional accent sensitive. I am frequently left exasperated by the impossibility of being able to convey even the simplest of information.

So here are my 10 worst things about automated call systems. Please let me know if there are any others you would like to share.

  1. The practical impossibility of being able to get through to a real person
  2. Being on hold forever
  3. Finally getting through then being transferred and disconnected
  4. Having to follow an infinite number of steps on the menu and then still not getting to the right department
  5. Finally getting connected and the representative cannot help you
  6. Being transferred to another person who also cannot help
  7. Being disconnected half way through a call, having to call back and start from the beginning again with a new representative because you didn’t take the first representative’s name
  8. Being forwarded to the wrong department and then being transferred to the wrong department again.
  9. Automated answer messages: “You are in a queue. Your call is important to us. One of our representatives with be with you shortly”
  10. Infuriating background ‘while you wait’ music

I long for days gone by, where I was always able to speak in a reasonable time frame to a real human being on the end of the line without having to trawl through an endless list of pointless options to get there.

I also live in hope that a system designed to make things simpler, actually one day does what it says on the tin. Until then, rather than drink my body weight in wine, I’ve tried to sum up my exasperation in a poem. What do you think?


Press 1 for #Aaaagghh Automated Call Systems


Automated phone lines 

They drive me up the wall

Since when was it so difficult 

To make a simple call! 

I only have a query 

It shouldn’t take too long

But I lose hours of my life

When I use the telephone. 

Press 1 for this and 2 for that 

And 3 to hear some more

And now I can’t remember 

What I rang up for! 

Your call is important to us

You’re now in a queue

We’re really very busy

Not sure when you’ll get through. 

Finally now connected

But the assistant cannot help

Have now lost the will to live!

May as well be talking to myself. 

I’m now being transferred

To further waste my time

But least there’s some music playing 

While I’m waiting on the line. 

At last I think I’ve got there 

But then the line goes dead

Before I lose my sanity

Was it something that I said? 

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