Here’s a note to Symantec and other companies with large, geographically dispersed technical support departments: playing elevator music on VoIP (voice over internet protocol) connections is a bad idea!
Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe most companies with large, geographically dispersed technical support departments use VoIP for handling support calls from their customers. Although there are several possible reasons why such companies use VoIP, the number one reason seems to be to reduce telecommunications costs.
While there are several benefits to using VoIP, one thing’s for sure: companies do not switch to VoIP because of sound quality. The sound quality of most VoIP connections sucks! When I call tech support departments (as I often do in my IT job), I like to ask them whether they use VoIP or traditional telephone systems. Pretty much without exception, the sound quality of the VoIP calls always sucks whereas the traditional telephone calls are generally crystal clear.
Bad sound quality makes it hard to understand what the tech support dude is saying, especially when the guy has an Indian accent, as is often the case with companies like Symantec. Usually, I can somehow struggle my way through the call by getting the guy to repeat himself umpteen dozen times. It’s very frustrating for me and probably also for the tech support guy. I’d rather visit the dentist.
To make matters worse, you often have to spend several minutes (or even hours) on hold during tech support calls. And what happens while you are on hold? They force you to listen to elevator music, also known as “on hold” music or muzak.
It’s one thing to be subjected to elevator music over a traditional telephone system but it’s a completely different ball game when it’s delivered on a VoIP connection. The sound reminds me of those old el cheapo Radio Shrap AM radios with the analog tuners when you don’t quite have the tuner locked in on the right frequency. You hear static, distortion and fuzz interspersed with crappy music. Ever heard someone scratch their nails across a chalkboard?
If you were getting bad radio reception in your car, you’d find another station or turn the radio off altogether. However, when you are calling the almighty tech support department, you are forced to listen to that crap until someone finally plucks your call out of the glorious “queue” and relieves you of your misery.
Here’s an idea for companies that deliver tech support on VoIP: get rid of the elevator music! I would rather hear silence with the occasional “please continue to hold” message. Or better yet, do what some forward-thinking companies do: give me the option to have someone call me back instead of putting me on hold for hours and giving me a sore neck from holding the phone between my ear and my shoulder!