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Stepping Out of Queue

For when you need to leave the hold queue.
  [vote for,

When placed in a hold queue, I inevitably have to put the phone down and leave for a minute or two. (see link for TheJeff's dilemma). Whenever I put the phone down, it is always the exact moment when someone picks up on the other end, says 'hello' three times, and hangs up.

Most hold queues are managed by similar software to the option tree (for 2 hours on hold, please press 1 now). My proposal is to be built into this software, that when a person is on hold, they have the option of pressing a button. When this button is pressed, they "step out" of the queue.
Stepping out of the queue holds you at your current position while letting other callers who are behind you, overtake you while you are out of the queue. This way, when you come back, you press the designated key again, and you are back in the queue at the same position you were in before you left.

For example:
Hold message:"Please ensure you have your docket number for quick processing of your problem"
Me:"Shit, I need to get the reciept"
Me:<presses #>
Hold machine:<holds me at position 26>
Me: <puts phone on bench>
Hold machine:<lets all other callers go from position 27 to position 25>
Me: <comes back, presses *>
Hold machine:<keeps queue going as normal>

You don't need to call the queue again and start at the bottom, because you've let others through while you weren't there and haven't used up the call-centre-person's time.

reap, May 27 2004

Reverse Hold Button http://www.halfbake...verse-hold_20button
TheJeff has to do more than get a receipt [reap, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       another fine telephone queue suggestion.. (+).
neilp, May 28 2004

       It would be good if you could step out off the queue into a sort of virtual trading room/ online auction where you would be able to sell yourhigh queue position to someone lower down the queue.
hippo, May 28 2004

       Wouldn't it make more sense for you to proceed to move up in the queue until you reached the first position, *then* allow others to pass over you until you returned?
phoenix, May 28 2004

       why ?
pjd, May 28 2004

       Good idea [reap]   

       [Phoenix] - I disagree - if you are not *actively* queuing then you don't deserve to progress up the queue. Also by not reaching the top you never come to the attention of the call-center-person. Also person '27' gets the 'you are now 25 in the queue' message as they race past you, but if your suggestion was implemented, the top X places might be taken by holdees, and the X+1'th person would have their call answered unexpectedly early.
dobtabulous, May 28 2004

       [reap] Most call centres here work on a system whereby the call centre pays for the long distance call - albeit at rates you and I can only dream about. They would most definitely not want to allow this system.
ConsulFlaminicus, May 29 2004

       [dobtabulous] Good points, all.   

       I'm thinking of how to least inconvenience both the person on the line as well as the person who has walked away for a moment. It's pretty rare that I get in a phone queue where I'm told what position I hold in the queue so either I'm waiting for someone to answer or I'm not. And even if I'm 27th in queue, I still might have someone pick up unexpectedly, if all 30 phone staff finish their calls at the same time.   

       My way means the people behind me advance along with me. If I happen to remember (or be told) I need a receipt, why should I be penalized? Especially if my place in queue doesn't impact anyone else's place in queue. It only means I can walk away for a moment and come back pleasantly surprised to find I'm now 5th in line and no one is the wiser.
phoenix, May 29 2004

       [phoenix] I understand your view. However, I was thinking more along the lines of [dobtabulous] that those who are actively queuing should be moved up the chain.
I also thought of it more as a way of the person queuing to essentially say "i just have to step out for a minute. Go ahead, I'll be back in a minute."
It was not meant to be a penalty of any sort. More of a consideration.
There is also the 'gamble' option, run off to get what you need to get, and see if you can get back in time to not be caught out :)
reap, May 30 2004

       Two comments:

       1) Don't you have a cordless phone?   

       2) My cable company uses a system that phones you back when your turn in the queue comes up - very civilized.
xrayTed, May 31 2004

       If you need your XYZ and you're at position 26, you won't press the button, you'll go find XYZ while the queue advances with you in it. In fact, you're probably making another call on the mobile while you queue, and are in another queue.   

       So you'd use it when you were at position 1, and only then. You'd end up with a massive queue at position 1 - in fact, you have two-dimensional queueing - fifty people at position 1, and another fifty at positions 2 to 51.   

       But I like the problem it solves so +
whennightfalls, Nov 25 2006


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