We have a Norstar phone system in my office. Sometimes people leave me voicemails on this system. When I look at my phone, it shows “Messages” in the little digital display so I know I must check my messages. To do this I press the “Check VM” button and enter my super secret password. Here’s what drives me crazy: The system robot says, “You have three new messages. To listen to your new messages, press 2,” and then ten other options. I am checking my voice mail. Of course I want to hear my new messages. Why in the world would I check my voicemail and not want to hear my new messages? (Cingular handles this perfectly, by the way. When I check my cell phone voice mail the system robot says, “You have seventeen new messages. The first message was received yesterday at 2 pm from some phone number, and here it is …”)
That’s only mildly annoying, though. What really drives me over a cliff is that once I have listened to the (usually quite unimportant) message, I have to listen to all NINE options before I’m able to delete the thing. “Press 1 to listen to the message envelope. Press 2 to forward the message. Press 3 to reply to the message. Press 4 to replay the message. Press 5 to hear the next message. Press 6 to hear the previous message. Press 7 to save the message. Press 8 to delete the message. Press 9 to hear more options.” I have to listen to all of that before I can delete the damn thing! If I press 8 while the system robot is still talking it ignores me until it has finished reading me all nine options! So. The vast majority of the time, I am simply going to delete the message. The option to delete should be NUMBER ONE. And under no circumstances in any universe should I possibly be forced to listen to all the options before making my choice!
Another thing that constantly bugs me is phone systems that force me to press the pound key (#) after entering a fixed-length number. If you want me to enter a five-digit code, then why do I have to press the pound key after the fifth digit?! If I only enter four digits, I’m obviously not done yet. If I enter six digits, you’re going to tell me that it’s too many numbers anyway. Argh!