Is talking to a robot really any less annoying than talking to a person?

Is talking to a robot really any less annoying than talking to a person? 1

When ringing up the customer services department of pretty much any company, you will often be left feeling like the label ‘customer service’ is some kind of ironic joke. Whether it is complaints about call drops, being put on hold or the dreaded clueless call centre worker, there is always something that allows people to moan about customer service. And the latest fad that is making people rage more than ever?

Talking to the robot.

Automated services are nothing new. Press 1 for one service and 2 for another is part and parcel of customer service calls nowadays. Yet nowadays it is almost impossible to skip the initial automated robot, leaving most people something more to moan about. Yet I think there is one important point that many people miss: is talking to a robot any less annoying than talking to a person?

Without automated services it is up to humans to direct you to the place you need to go and to the information you need. In the time before automated services, were we any less happy with customer service? People ring customer services when something is wrong: the experience is rarely satisfying. So I’m going to take the unpopular opinion, play Devil’s Advocate and ask ‘are robots as bad as we make them out to be?’. Here are some of the good things that automated services do for you that you maybe aren’t appreciating.

1. Robots eliminate human error and speeds up response.

We spend so much time talking about what robots do wrong when in reality if all interaction was human then there would be mistakes there too. It is just as often that an unhelpful person frustrates just as much as an annoying automated ‘press this button’ service. At least robots don’t have a sassy attitude.

In addition, automated services are often designed around frequently asked for services, meaning they are designed to be streamlined. Odds are you will get the department you need faster through an automated service than in the free-for-all of all human call centres.

2. Reduced costs are good for you too

Automated services cut down the costs of customer services for businesses dramatically, as people are directed to where they need to go quickly and easily. By employing less people and streamlining services, companies save money. While you might not be happy about companies getting rich on the back of annoying robots, you will be pleased to know that some of that benefit will be passed on to you to. Less operating costs often means a cheaper product. So the next time you see a slash in prices, you may want to thank the robot.

3. Voice control will get better

Perhaps the most raged against form of automated services are those that require you to literally talk to the robot. Voice control technology isn’t perfect: one muffled vowel or a particularly strong accent can leave you infuriated. So because of this, I’m not going to even try defend it, except to say it will get better. Voice control technology is growing (hello Siri!) and will probably be around for a long time. At least by rolling out prototypes now we are likely to get a better end product.

At the end of the day, customer service calls are rarely a rewarding experience. Automated services actually take some of the annoyance out of it by getting you where you need faster, pushing down hold times and improving the quality of service.


Is Talking To A Robot Really Any Less Annoying Than Talking To A Person? – by John Sz., on behalf of Capita Customer Management, a call centre outsourcing company in the UK.

Wise business owners invest in emergency diesel backup generators

Wise business owners invest in emergency diesel backup generators 2

Many business owners take their electrical power for granted, but there can be serious negative consequences that come about when grid failures occur. There are several reasons why wise business owners invest in emergency diesel backup generators.

Improved Productivity

Many businesses pay the majority of their employees by the hour, and they are responsible for compensating these people for their time even if the equipment that they need to do their job fails to work. In office environments, employees need to use computers and other sorts of electronic equipment to do their daily tasks. These people have to stop working when the power goes out if the business owner has not purchased a backup generator. Unfortunately, these employees still need to be paid for the time that they sit around waiting for the power to come back on. This can be particularly frustrating in areas where there are frequent problems with the electrical grid, and it can lead to a lot of lost revenue for a company.

The are also many cases when power outages can last for a very long time. A lighting strike or a tree falling on a main power line can cause entire regions to experience outages that can last for days or even weeks. Unfortunately, clients can often be less than forgiving when a company is unable to meet the deadlines that they have agreed to, and being without power for a significant period of time will lead to massive delays in any company’s workflow. However, business owners who purchase an emergency diesel backup generator never have problems with their power. Employees can continue on with their work right away, and clients will stay happy.

Improved Safety

Business owners are legally liable for accidents that occur when people are on the business’ property. When the electricity fails and the lights go out, accidents are much more likely to happen. Purchasing an emergency diesel backup generator is a smart idea for any business owner because it prevents accidents that they can be held legally liable for. This is a relatively small investment compared to the amount that they will have to pay for hospital bills if an employee or customer is injured because they bump into something in the dark during a power failure. Most importantly, business owners who purchase backup generators can rest assured knowing that they are able to provide a safe environment for everyone even when the electricity goes out.

Improved Security

It is very important for retail business owners to purchase an emergency diesel backup generator. Customers are known to steal items when the electricity goes out. It is impossible for loss prevention personnel to tell if people are putting things in their pockets in the dark, and electronic security systems do not work during power outages. Retail businesses that specialize in smaller, more expensive items are particularly vulnerable to theft during power failures. Luckily, business owners who purchase emergency diesel backup generators never have to worry about protecting their merchandise when the electricity stops flowing. These generators kick in automatically when the power goes out. Lights and security systems will start working again in a matter of seconds. With this, the amount that retail establishments may lose to theft during a single power outage can cover the price of purchasing a backup generator. 

Allight Sykes provide a great range of diesel generators, such as the FG Wilson industrial generator range. FG Wilson generators comply with emissions standards and are tested thoroughly. For a quality generator contact Allight Sykes.

Getting free business cards

Getting free business cards 3

If you are running a small business then you may not have the resources in place to afford professionally printed business cards, but there are a number of options available for free business cards. If you have access to the Internet then there are a number of websites online that can offer you free business card templates. These are useful tools as they give you the basic layout from which you can start designing professional looking business cards. Some free business card templates can offer you with colored backgrounds, images and artwork that make it quick and easy just to add your own business details and get printing straight away, but these may not be suitable for those who are looking for very individual and eye-catching designs.

You can design business cards from free templates in a number of different formats including Photoshop, PDF, Illustrator, JPEG and Word, and some websites also provide free browser based services so that you can design online and then download the completed business cards for printing.
This website can offer free printable business card templates, and it is easy to search through the different basic designs on offer as they are organized by type or industry. Templates are offered in a high quality format, CMYK JPEG, and there are plenty of useable designs that will be suitable for a wide range of business. It is easy to edit the free templates from and with most cards you simply type your own contact information and logo into the placeholder text boxes. There is also a choice of plain basic card templates and those with background colors and artwork.

Microsoft Office Online
Microsoft Office Online can offer a number of free business card templates in a whole range of different styles and designs. Single card and multi-card page print layouts are provided, as well as options for single or double sided printing and you can choose from templates with color and artwork or just plain backgrounds. You will need to check that the templates are compatible with the Windows operating system you are using on your system.

Business Card Land
If you want to use the versatile features in Illustrator or Photoshop, then Business Card Land offers free templates compatible with these formats, with single cars and multi-card printing layouts available.

HP Business Card Templates
The HP gallery offers a dozen free business card templates for Microsoft Word. These are easily to download to your desktop, and then you can customize them and start printing out. Horizontal and vertical layouts are offered.

Google Docs Templates
Google Docs can offer several different basic business card templates and these are free and are easy to personalize with your own contact details.
This website offers ten monochrome business templates, which are compatible with Microsoft Word and CorelDRAW applications. These free templates offer basic design with simple graphics. offer a number of attractive, basic free business card templates which can be easily customized in Photoshop format.