Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Have You Ever Wondered What the Voice Robot Hears?

How I felt after calling Blue Cross Blue  Shield's Robot

Every now and again I get fed up with a customer service voice robot telling me it can't understand what I'm saying. Who does it think it is! What chutzpah! It's the one with the limited vocabulary.

Eventually  even when I start my call  with the best of intentions, I  break down and start yelling "Human! human!" into the receiver, while simultaneously hitting the '0' key.

I wonder, do those customer service departments or voice robot service companies, collect the human responses for future analysis? If so I'd like to buy some. I'd stitch them all together and make a song. I'd sell it on iTunes and it could compete with Yoko's mistresspieces. And in case someone does  do  this, remember you read about it first HERE.

Last night, feeling somewhat bored with life, I decided, spur of the moment to see what it would be like to be a voice robot. I was very anti robot-voice at the time, having just had to listen to arguably the worse robot voice on this planet. Try calling Blue Cross Blue Shield. And what's worse, AFTER you have politely listened to the welcome babble and instructions, and punched in your 100 character long ID number, you can expect to heart something like this, but only after 5 rings:

"Our office is now closed. Please try again later".

People could get blood pressure problems from hearing THIS punch line. But then, Blue Cross IS part of the American health care industry....

When later  I got a call from an unknown number, which started off with a request for money from a group claiming to be a fraternity of policemen, I  remembered a poster from my apartment block's lobby -  "If a cop asks for money, it's not a cop".

Aha, a ruse. A scam. I've had that sort of call before. Generally it is made by someone with an inebriated Irish accent backgrounded by sounds of people swilling Guinness.

This guy though sounded relatively normal. Here is a transcript, as best I can remember. The robot is in blue. I put on my BEST robot voice!

Caller: I am calling from the New York State Fraterna [static] order Of Police.
iRobot: For more options, press one.
Caller: [pause] Nope!
iRobot: For more options, press one
Caller: No!
iRobot: Do you wish to continue in Spanish?
Caller: No
iRobot: I am sorry, I did not understand your answer.
Caller: I want to talk in English
iRobot: For more options, press one.
Caller: [giggle]
iRobot: For more options, press one.
Caller: [speaks] One
iRobot: Do you want money?
Caller: YES!
iRobot: Do you enjoy impersonating a policeman?
Caller: [laughter]
iRobot: Do you want another beer?
Caller: [more laughter]
iRobot: Thank you for calling. I hope we have been able to help you. We appreciate your service.[I hang up]

I then check the incoming number on my Vonage page. I dial it.

It isn't a hotel bar. It is "New York State Fraternal Order Of Police"!

I google them.

They are legit!

My name is Kathleenwng and I approve this message

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