Tired of canned voice mail answering service messages? Put some pizzazz in your telephone greeting! Here are twelve ideas to get you started:
1. Your call may be monitored and or recorded for quality assurance purposes, or more likely, for our own amusement. For security reasons, please enter the last four digits of your mother's Social Security number followed by the first four digits of your previous car's license plate.
2. To use our express automated system, and save us a ton of time and money in not having to hire customer service representatives, press one. To wait on the line while we locate, hire, and train a customer service representative, press two.
3. To repeat any of these options, press nine, then pound, followed by the original number of the option. If you can't remember the original option hang up, call back, and go through the entire process again until you get it right.
4. To access your account, please say or press your thirteen-digit personal account number, which is located in the upper-right-hand corner in the middle section of the page that accompanies your bill, which you probably didn't save.
5. For payment information, press star thirty-eight or simply say the word "payment." If this doesn't work, press star thirty-eight repeatedly or yell the word "payment" as loud as you can.
6. To exit from this system, press or say your thirteen-digit account number then the pound sign. Or, you can simply place the electronic device in your hand back in its holder, effectively ending communication by hanging up, just like you've been doing since you were about four years old.
7. Thank you for your patience. A customer service representative will be with you in . . . eight minutes, or, in a few minutes beyond your willingness to remain on the line.
8. Calls will be answered in the order in which they were received. And if you believe that, we have some swampland in New Jersey we would like to sell you.
9. Currently all of our customer representatives are busy helping other customers, or at least that's what we would like you to believe. Actually, we have no other customer representatives than the one you're trying to reach right now and, apparently, Marge is still in the bathroom.
10. You might hear several beeps followed by a long silence. If the silence goes on for too long you can reactivate the system by singing the second chorus of Hosanna. If this doesn't work, press pound followed by the number 32487, at which time the silence will continue, probably for much longer.
11. I'm sorry, zero is not a customer option, even when combined with other maneuvers, such as cursing into the receiver.
12. To access our automated response system, press star one now. To obtain investor information, press star two now. To hear our website address, press star three. To hear a pep talk from our vice president for speculative investments, press star four. To speak to someone about your account who will relay your message to someone else who will get back to you in three or four days, press star five. To hear this menu again, press star six. To end this call, press star seven followed by the words "for crying out loud."
But seriously. A little human contact on the phone can go a long way these days. It helps establish you as a service provider who cares, gives callers a sense of "breathing space," and assists you in vanquishing the competition.