Press 1 to be confused, Press 2 to be annoyed…

imagesA lot of my new job involves calling libraries and checking in to make sure clients are happy.  I really like that part of my job.  Most of the folks are really happy and y’know, that’s nice to hear.  They usually act like it was ME that somehow created the software and ME that did all the leg work, so my ego is awesome right now!  Apparently, I rock!

Okay, so the one part that is rough is PHONE SYSTEMS.  Libraries always are worrying about their websites and if patrons can find things on the library website and so on, but let me tell you, these phone systems are so very confusing.

Firstly, they sometimes are too fast.  “Welcometothepubliclibrarywearesohappyyoucalled, pleasepressone”.  It’s like the person is in a speed talking competition!  If I can’t hear it, how will a little old person ever find the right number to push?

Next, the jargon.  Oy!  The jargon!  Why can’t we just say something simple like, Press zero to speak to an operator, one to talk to check on your due dates or to do an item renewal, two to ask a librarian a question, three to hear our events.  Department names are so obtuse and confusing at times. 

And my last and most selfish point…we should try to create a more universal numbering system.  This sounds crazy but it could work.  If all libraries could agree that dialing one will always take people to circ, dialing four will always take people to the staff directory…a small thing like that would help patrons who have to call other libraries, and well, it would help me.  🙂

</rant>  Sorry…I try to avoid those, but it had to be said!

Now please press ONE to enjoy a nice work-free weekend, please press two if you have to work on desk…

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2 responses to “Press 1 to be confused, Press 2 to be annoyed…

  1. SERIOUSLY. I have to call neighboring libraries to ask them to do shelf checks for patrons from time to time. I am always astounded by how vague the prompts are (ie what the hell does “press one for reader’s advisory” mean to the average non-librarian?) . A universal numbering system sounds like a great idea to me too. That’s probably because we are both completely above average and bordering on genius. That’s another way of saying great minds think alike.

  2. Vague prompts are written by vague beaurocrats in vague departments. Just try to reply to them, and discover their location is vague. Small libraries are too independent to consider your idea, even if it was blessed by ALA. Blessing by ALA won’t happen because you aren’t a large library. Large libraries couldn’t use your idea because the public phone book lists different phone numbers for the different departments. Good ideas often die from loneliness.

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