I’m sorry. I didn’t quite understand that. Please state “Yes” or “No”

There’s a perfect tv programme, just up my street, airing next week…

Maybe it’s just the grumpy old man in me, but I don’t enjoy dealing with call-centre systems that have complex menu trees, repetitive announcements, auto-attendants, IVRs, and being told that my “business-is-important-thankyouforholding”.

Why can’t a person just pick up the phone and speak to me?

There is a cynical thing going on in some cases – a shady need for the company you’re phoning to keep you on the phone for a while – Call Revenue Sharing. This is where the destination of the phone number recieves a portion of the call termination revenue from the phone company. If the call isn’t long enough, the revenue share is negligible. The cynic in me, saying “yes” or pressing “1” for the umpteenth time, thinking this IVR or menu tree is designed to make the call sufficiently long enough to bring money into the organisation.

I’m therefore looking forward to Channel 4’s Richard Wilson On Hold which is broadcast at 8pm on Monday 16th January. I wonder if they will touch on Revenue Sharing, or just concentrate on the grumpy annoyance factor.

2 thoughts on “I’m sorry. I didn’t quite understand that. Please state “Yes” or “No””

  1. An industry colleague, quite rightly, pointed out that UK (pre-broadband) Internet Access scene of the 1990s would be very different if it wasn’t for revenue sharing.

    Some of you may remember that many ISPs used 0845 “local-rate” numbers for their dial-up pools, and these ISPs got a revenue share from these calls from whichever telco was terminating their 0845 number. The ISP I worked for at the time used Energis and a company which was basically Telewest under a different name to do this, and they both paid revenue share.

    This revenue sharing can be looked at, in some respects, useage-based billing of the dialup customer, but levied indirectly, through the consumer’s phone bill.

    It certainly facilitated the “tenner-a-month” type of economics which ruled the early dialup market, as it allowed the regular monthly subscription to be kept low.

    But the main difference is that this case it’s not necessarily not a bad thing, as you’re actually getting something for your time online, as opposed to the “dead time”, like navigating a call tree or being stuck in queueing system.

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