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Business Phone Blues

Business Phone Blues


I work for a specialty after market auto parts retailer. We have no showroom, so around twenty percent of our business comes from the Internet while eighty percent comes from the telephone. We send out catalogs to those who request them or anyone who has placed an order in the last year. We also advertise in the back of automotive magazines.  Needless to say, telephone sales are truly the lifeblood of our business. As of late, however, I’ve been wishing that weren’t the case.

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My company’s business phone system has what I would call, the absolute most annoying hold message ever produced. My boss, the owner of the company, is a really nice guy.  Unfortunately, he is a really nice guy with a very pronounced speech impediment. One day he decided that instead of the traditional hold music, he would play a repeating digital loop of him announcing our weekly specials. We are a very busy company. In fact, most days find our sales reps on the phone from the time we get in until the time we leave. As you might guess, with such a high volume of calls, many people are left on hold.

When our customers finally reach a sales rep, I would estimate that about thirty to forty percent of them do an impersonation of my boss… no kidding. The other sixty or seventy percent usually compliment us on the “funny voice” doing our ads. I’ve had a few who were offended by it, thinking we were trying to make fun of those with speech impediments. The thing is, almost everybody has something to say about the hold ads. I even had one customer complete an extensive order while doing his version of “the voice”. Since our boss is a really great guy, my coworkers and I are less than amused on one hand, yet highly entertained on the other. My only problem is that while most of my colleagues are spread out over a huge office, my cubical is right next to the boss’. I have to keep a straight face during some fairly good impressions.

I miss the hold music.

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