Research, analysis, and thought leadership for enterprise communications.

Stupid Fone Systems

by in rant

Phone systems are stupid and terrible for callers.

I rail about phone systems and how unfriendly they are for users. The folks inside phone system companies immediately talk about how easy their systems are to use. Sometimes they will get out of their shell enough to ask why I feel this way. I am happy to share examples. Here is one…

When i get cut off on a call, I probably want to call back and get reconnected – to the right person not the start of an IVR. Why doesn’t the phone system offer this as an option? “We see that you called just a few minutes ago. Would you like to be connected back with the individual you were just speaking with?”

I’m told that the reason is that the phone system doesn’t have this in memory, and doesn’t keep track of where you were transferred. This is an empty excuse. The phone system should note me when I call, and it should note every time I am transferred, and it should make it easy for me to reconnect. Then, when I call back it should offer to reconnect me. That would be a good service.

And, wouldn’t it be great that it offered this:

“Thanks for calling back. If you would like us to send you a text message with the people and extensions you talked to on your previous call, press 9.” That would be great. Now, when i was transferred four or seven times I could have the chain and get back to the intermediate steps.

Finally, when the far end disconnects (which happens all to often) why doesn’t the phone system NOT disconnect, but instead offer these choices: “Your call was disconnected. To reconnect with the person you were talking to, press 1, to leave a comment or complaint, press 2, to reach a supervisor, press 3.”

I think callers and customers are very important.

And, I also think that the basic problem in the telephony industry is a lack of empathy for callers and a lack of creativity.

Telecom would get healthier if we deeply thought about the customer experience and stopped trying to peddle 40 year old custom calling features.


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About this Post


Colin Berkshire is a highly technical HR executive in the Pulp and Paper Industry. Colin has an engineering and voice background, and is currently on assignment in Asia. NOTE: Colin does not respond to comments, and does not Tweet.