Welcome to Our Automated Voicemail System

(Originally published in Main Line Life on 7/30/08)

“You have reached the automated voicemail system of the XYZ Company. We truly value your patronage and appreciate your interest. In an effort to better serve your needs we have devised a voicemail system that will test the limits of your patience, challenge your memory skills, and necessitate above average competence in both the verbal and technological arenas.

So that we may better serve you, please listen carefully to the following thirty-eight options. Be advised that our menu options change hourly, so if you are thinking of cutting this section out and proceeding directly to the extension you think you want, you may be asked to begin this process over. Of course, if you are absolutely certain of the extension of the party you wish to reach, you may try it at any time. If you wish to speak directly to an operator, the wait time is approximately sixteen days, three hours, and seventeen minutes.

We are pleased to offer a new service to our international customers: recently added menu options in the following languages – Urdu, Esperanto, Mandarin, and Inuit. Please press the * key after you make your language selection. For plain old English, please remain on the line.

We are required by law to notify you that for training purposes, this call may be monitored. You may wonder whom we are training, if all you are doing is talking to a machine, but we actually do have a dedicated staff of three in a small rural village in India standing by. And because of our commitment to customer service, we sometimes monitor these calls so that our staff may better assist you.

Let’s get started. But first, an automatic update – your wait time to speak to one of our customer service representatives has been upgraded to fourteen days, seven hours, and twelve minutes. It’s just our way of expressing our gratitude for your patronage. In the meantime please enjoy listening to some music selections from one of our favorite CDs – The Top Hits in Elevator Muzak, Part 17.

Please be advised that at any time you may press 0 to speak to one of our three customer service representatives. The wait time is now eight days, six hours, and seventeen minutes. If you are on a land-line (and how quaint!) you may put your telephone on speaker-phone and go cook dinner and water the lawn. If you are on your cell phone, you may want to grab a book – preferably something over five hundred pages long.

In the meantime, we’d like to tell you about some special offers we have just for you, our valued customer. Please listen carefully to the following once-in-a-lifetime promotions available only for a short time. If you would like to return to our music selection at any time, please press the # key and hold.

I’m sorry, but that option is not available. Please try your selection again. And listen carefully, as our menu options have just changed. Buenas dias! Si quieres continuar en Ingles, oprima el numero uno.

The wait time for one of our customer service representatives is now only three days and fourteen hours. Don’t give up now, you’re almost there! Reminder, this call is being monitored for quality control purposes, so please don’t use that kind of language. In the meantime, press two if you would like to participate in our customer satisfaction survey. One lucky person will be selected at random out of those who participate for bonus points in our Valued Customer Program. For more information on our Valued Customer Program, press three now. Otherwise, press four to continue holding, or five for more options.

We’re sorry but we don’t recognize that option. We will return to the main menu, so that you may hear our selections again, and you may choose your party’s extension.

You have reached the voicemail system of the XYZ Company. Please listen carefully, as our menu options have just changed. All of our customer service representatives are busy now serving other valued customers. Please hold, or press six for more menu options. We appreciate your call and look forward to assisting you – if only you would stop that screaming.”

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