If I added up all of the time I’m on hold, I bet it would total 3 months. It’s true, I’ve actually done the math!
First, let me clarify the type of phone hold we’re talking about here. You know, the kind that takes you through a maze of phone menus? The kind that starts off giving you the Spanish option? The one that gives you anywhere from 4-6 options, only to then take you to another menu with 7-10 newer options?
So, assuming I surrender to the forecasted 30 minute-phone call, I plunge in, full force. With confidence and ease, I make it to Menu 2 and feel hopeful.
Menu 2, however, presents some challenges: “Are you having technical difficulties?” sounds a lot like “Do you need to schedule a service call?”
Menu 3: I have either been sent back to Menu 1 because I didn’t know my account number, or I am now swimming around in the abyss of Menu 3 where the voice menu “lady” gives 10 options, 4 or 5 that I have forgotten by the time she gets to the final option. I am now sweating profusely.
It is at this critical time that terror rips through my body because I know if I pick the wrong choice, I will be relegated to one of the following:
1. I will have to listen to a tortuous, new menu list that will have nothing to do with why I called in the first place;
2. I will actually get a live, human being who will tell me that I have contacted the wrong department only to be transferred back into menu-jail from where I have just escaped;
Or, possibly, the worst punishment of all:
3. Get disconnected AND HAVE TO START ALL OVER AGAIN!
All of these options are worse than suffering electric shock treatments, but I carefully calculate my move and after pushing the corresponding phone button, I wait….what will it be? Will I land into another automated phone menu? Will it be an extra 20 minutes? Will I get a real human? What, exactly, is my fate?
You get the point. And by the time I expire, I will have spent about 3 months of my life in this situation.
For you mathematical fanatics, here’s the math: 4 of those extremely annoying phone calls, per week (like to ones to your cable company’s customer “service” department) x approximately 12 minutes on hold (yes, I’m being VERY generous) x 52 weeks in a year= 2,496 minutes which is 41.6 hours a year. Let’s round up to 42 like our first grade math teacher Mrs. Cooperman taught us: 42 hours/year x 55 years, (assuming that you only start suffering through these types of phone calls when you are 20 and that you die at 75)= 2,310 hours divided by 24 hours which is 96 days. 96 DAYS!! I’m losing 96 days of my life on hold! That’s more than 3 months!
That’s 3 precious months of my life that I’d rather spend with my kids. Or my husband. Or sleeping. Or pretty much doing anything else rather than spending it tethered to a frustrating, automated phone call.
I might even use those 90 days to check out a place where they NEVER do that to their callers. It’s a place called Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine in West Bloomfield, Michigan, that I understand delivers unparalleled, patient care and actually does what they say they are going to do: heal infections and wounds in their in-office setting, with nice people, understanding staff, great snacks, amazing medical care and, (sigh,) no one to put me on hold.
So the next time you get ready to pick up that phone, think very carefully about your 90 days.
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