Funny noises

26Mar08

I almost made a fool of myself while joining a conference call yesterday. Things started off normally: the automated prompt asked me to enter the number assigned to my call, and then it asked me to say my name after the tone. But instead of the usual “beep” or “ding”, it played a bizarre, almost circus-like noise. Trust me, it was weird. I actually began laughing out loud, but managed to regain my composure before I had to say my name for the system.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, the name you record on these things is either played back to the call moderator, the other participants on the call, or both. I really don’t want to be the guy whose name is announced as a jumble of nervous laughter. It doesn’t really set the stage for a professional first impression. I’d much rather have other people hear my name and company instead.

Frankly, I don’t know whether the crazy noise I heard is due to a malfunction in the conference calling software, human error, or something else entirely. Some people might argue that the system should let you review your recorded name before it’s saved, regardless of the type of beep you hear first. I think this would add too much complexity to what should otherwise be a simple process. The right solution is for the folks who maintain the conferencing system to test it out more frequently, so they can see what callers are experiencing. Ideally, they would compare each test to a recorded copy that shows how things should sound, so there’s no mistaking when the sounds or other parts of the process have changed.



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