Friday, July 31, 2009

Not Quite a Killdozer Rampage

Jason Lackey

David Pogue of the New York Times is on the warpath. While perhaps not as passionate or heartfelt as Marvin Heemeyer's killdozer rampage, his "Take Back the Beep" Campaign has certainly ruffled some feathers and caused some difficult questions to be asked.

The basic premise is this: the voicemail instructions you hear when calling many mobile devices are too long and are there for the purpose of racking up billable minutes. By Mr. Pogue's math, this works out to about $620 million per year for a large North American Tier 1.


Of course, there is a flip side. I used to run a corporate helpdesk and anyone in the business of providing technical support will back me up - you can never be too clear, too explicit or repeat yourself too often when you are trying to provide the general public with instructions for using some widget or service, no matter how simple. Sure, the instructions burn cycles and take time, but it could be argued that being less clear would leave at least some customers clueless and that would result in an even greater burden in terms of total time spent on support calls for people trying to figure out how to use voicemail.

I hope the Komatsu D355A stays in the garage!

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