More waste of time

Last year I reported on the inefficient design of a teleconference system, as far as respect for the user’s time is concerned.

Today I sat through a really lovely case of this design issue. This system, speaking with a booming, ebullient voice, took me through the following:

System: Welcome to the conference center!

System: Please enter your passcode followed by the pound sign!

[I did]

System: Please hold while your passcode is being verified!

System (1 second later): Your passcode has been accepted!

System: You can press Star-Zero At any time during the conference to receive additional assistance!

System: At the tone please say your name then press the pound key!

[I did]

System: At the tone, you will be placed into the conference as the third participant!

Obviously, it would’ve been enough if after the second line – once I input the correct passcode – the system had connected me. All the rest of this monologue is useless (OK, in some situations, asking me to say my name may be useful too; but none of the rest).

And in fact, when I was placed into the conference, another participant who had just run this gauntlet of useless chatter said “I wanted to yell at the system “Just SHUT UP!”

Not that the system would have listened…  🙁

3 Responses to “More waste of time”

  1. 1 Udi

    From your description, I have a feeling we are using the same teleconference provider…

    I can add two more points from my provider. Maybe you got this too:

    1. The passcodes are extremely long – 9 or 10 digits. How many conferences do these guys thing they will have? It looks to me like they had a ‘conference code’ and a ‘pin code’ for each conference, and decided to combine them into once ‘passcode’, which is difficult to read (when you get it by mail) and to enter.

    2. Although the system asks for your name, it does not announce it when you join. When someone joins the call, there is a beep, but it does not say ‘Nathan has joined the call’. I never understood why.


  2. 2 Nathan Zeldes

    Good point, Udi, on the code length. As to your #2 – in some systems I’ve seen they do say ‘Nathan has joined the call’. Competence varies, I guess…

  3. 3 TechieBird

    I think one of my suppliers uses this same provider too :o)

    Udi – some conference systems allow the moderator (the person with the host code) to play back the list of participants by pressing a key combination, i.e. instead of taking a roll call. That could be why you still get asked for your name even when ‘Announce’ is switched off.

    I used to have an evening job as a conference call operator, back in the days when it was expected that you needed a human to facilitate a call. We had to follow similarly lengthy (and many would say pointless) scripts. We were told this was because the attendees wanted “consistency” above all else, i.e. consistency regardless of who the operator is (or what country they’re in) as well as consistency with their previous experience. Innovation, convenience and common sense came way down the list.

    All our regular clients knew the spiel well enough that they didn’t care if we were intelligible or not, so we used to rattle through the scripted bits as quickly as possible for them, which would get excellent feedback for the individual operators. It was crazy.

    I can still remember the scripts, 18 years later…

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