Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

The Hump Day Humor-Gram, Issue #11, July 10, 2002

Please feel free to mail this to your co-workers, friends,
in-laws or pets (especially if your pets are also your in-laws),
tie it to a moose, e-mail it to Enron . . .

1. Hello?
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip of the Day Phone Fun
3. Quote of the Week
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky, World . . .
1. Hello?

How many of you know of businesses who spout off about how important
the customer is, then implement a hundred policies designed to annoy,
frustrate or badger customers? How many managers say that their
employees are their number one asset, yet do little to back this up on
a daily basis? It’s easy to pay lip service to so many things in the
workplace, especially when the lips are being provided electronically.

Yes, I’m talking about voice mail systems, and one of my biggest pet
peeve lip service lines – a computerized voice telling me that my
phone call is very important. SO important that the company is
willing to make me wait 10 minutes, leapfrogging wildly from button to
button in a circuitous maze of options and bland computerized voices
until I finally reach a dead end and have to start the process over
from scratch. Here’s a thought, if my call really is important to
them, why isn’t their a live human being waiting to greet me?

Ah, but now technology has ridden to the rescue once again to solve a
technologically-driven problem. A company in the U.S. has developed
a speech-recognition system designed to pick up on callers’
frustrations as they move through an automated phone system. If the
technology “hears” an overly loud or stressed voice, swearing or other
emotional trigger phrases, the person will be immediately transferred
to a live operator trained in conflict resolution.

So apparently, we will be able to simply swear upon dialing in to
1-800-WHO-CARES and get a real live person! And from the business’s
perspective, they get to add a layer of complexity to a system that
they seem to know is already annoying their clients right from the get
go. Is it just me or is this a little wacky?

“Hello caller, this is a real human being. I’ve intercepted your call
because we’ve achieved our goal of providing an unsatisfactory
experience for you as early as we possibly could in our relationship.
Are there other ways we can annoy you before you’d like to decide to
do business with us?”

Here are a few thoughts for fellow Hump Dayers:

1. If you value your customers, don’t just say it, back it up with
your actions, every day, all the time, in every action.

2. If you have a voice messaging system or heck even just an
answering machine, make it simple, make it user friendly and make it
plain old friendly. Put your best foot (well, okay, voice) forward
right away!

3. Better still add some fun to your messages, voice mail or phone
system. WestJet Airlines, on the rare occasions when you don’t get a
live operator, offers up a lively commentary of jokes, trivia and fun
interspersed with useful information while you wait. A company in the
states added an option of “Press #7 to hear the sound of a duck”(their
mascot is a mallard duck) and increased their business by 70%.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to phone a technical support number
for some computer problems I’ve been having . . . wish me luck.
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

Speaking of phones, here are 3 goofy things you can do with your

1. Place the receiver upside down on top of your head, with the mouth
and ear piece sticking up, rock slowly back and forth, and sing the
Mickey Mouse theme song (it works best with a black phone -it really
does look like Mickey’s ears)
2. Phone your main switchboard and page yourself.
3. Phone someone celebrating a birthday and play Happy Birthday
3. Quote of the Week

“Sometimes a laugh is the only weapon we have.” Roger Rabbit
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky World

Police in the town of Stavanger, Oslo have imposed a law requiring all
bars to have bouncers. One bar has given the job to their oldest
regular guest: a 91 year-old great grandmother, who was quoted as
saying she prefers words over using her fists, when dealing with

“I can be pretty strict if I have to be,” she was quoted as saying.
Copyright Michael Kerr, 2002

Michael Kerr, “The Workplace Energizer” is the author of 5 books,
including When Do You Let the Animals Out? and You Can’t Be Serious!
Putting Humor to Work. Michael delivers keynote talks and workshops
on humor in the workplace, business creativity and public speaking

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