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Tag Archives: Audiovisual Industry

I Miss Music On Hold

We’re sorry.  Your call is very important to us.  Please remain on the line, and the next available customer service representative will be with you shortly.

Sound familiar?  Well, it should, as many telephone systems have similar recordings that usually repeat every 30 seconds while you wait on hold for 3 minutes… or 30 minutes… it really depends on who you are, and reason you are “on hold”.

If I am ordering a pizza, for instance, and I get put on hold for more than 5 minutes, I know they are busy, and I will often just hang up and dial another establishment.  But if I am trying to reach my credit card company or cable provider, I usually have a reason that I need to call them in particular, not someone else.  Oftentimes, it does not matter when I call, I will be put on hold.

In the old days, you would be put on hold and hear nothing. Silence. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But I guess some people did not know if they were still on hold after hearing silence for a few minutes, so someone invented “music on hold”.  The music source could be a service like Muzak but usually, it was just a short loop recording of classical music that would repeat.

Then one day, someone (let’s call him or her The Devil) got the bright idea to add the “We’re sorry.  Your call is very important to us…” and made it REPEAT OVER AND OVER.  Does this really help anyone?  Seriously, I swear, it was The Devil, Bobby Boucher, The Devil!

The last time I was put on hold, it was even worse: in between the verbal lashings of digitally remastered sarcasm mentioned above, they had inter-weaved advertisements for their services!  It was at that moment that I realized we need a revolution.  If We, The People, have to be put on hold, we demand respect; I personally think we should be educated and/or entertained while on hold.  Here is what I think should happen:

You have been put on hold and you are listening to an automated telephone system. I will try to make it as painless as possible by speaking to you in a polite, personal tone.

First, push 1 to mute me at anytime; push 1 to un-mute me.

You will be on hold for approximately 10 minutes. That is a estimate, and I will try to keep you updated if that amount of time changes significantly.  You can press 2 at any time to find out the estimated time you will still be on hold. 

Now for some entertainment, if you are in the mood for it…

Press 3 for local news, sports, traffic, and weather forecasts

Press 4 to listen to light classical music

Press 5 for jazz, funk, and r&b music

Press 6 for rock or indie music

Press 7 for rap and hip hop music

Press 8 for country music

Press 9 to hear these options again

Otherwise, I will leave you to wait in silence, ok?  Just speak up if you need something.  Sorry about putting you on hold. I know its really rude, but we do it to keep our internal expenses to a minimum, which in the end, should mean cheaper prices for you. Thanks for waiting. 

-pk

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Infocomm Certified Technology Specialists

Five Alternative Uses For Your Infocomm CTS, CTS-D, and/or CTS-I Certification Pins

By Paul Konikowski, CTS-D

CTS-DEarlier this week, CEPro reported that Infocomm was changing the CTS, CTS-D, and CTS-I certification tests as of July 1, 2013 “to reflect changes in the AV Industry”.  I am not surprised they are changing the tests; not that there was anything particularly wrong with the old tests.  But I saw it coming…

About a year ago, Infocomm asked me and a dozen other CTS-D holders to attend a one day round table discussion about the current CTS-D test, and what could be improved.  The biggest topic of the day seemed to be LAN infrastructure, and how more and more AV devices need to be on public or private data networks.  There was also a larger need for trade coordination that should be evident in the new tests.

Well, all this talk of CTS, CTS-I and CTS-D tests got me thinking about the whole process, including the lovely gold lapel pins that Infocomm sends you when you pass one of the tests.

I wore my CTS pin to at least one interview.  I wear the CTS-D pin to trade shows sometimes, but I think I am in the minority because I rarely see them.  Yet Infocomm still sends them out every 3 years, assuming you have earned the proper RUs and renewed your certification.

So I started to wonder what everyone does with their “unused” pins; and I came up with the following Five alternate uses for your Infocomm CTS, CTS-D, or CTS-I pins:

1. Infocomm Certified Golf Ball Marker

CTS-D Ball Marker

Account managers: impress your clients with your AV knowledge while they finish their putt

2. Infocomm Certified Miniature Belt Buckle

CTS Belt Buckle

“By the power of Infocomm; I HAVE THE POWER!”

3. Infocomm Certified Bottle Opener

CTS-D Church Key

What every good AV toolbox needs

4. Infocomm Certified Ear Piercing

CTS_D_Pin_Earring

Don’t try this at home (unless you live in Seattle or Portland)

5. Infocomm Certified Letters With Wax Seal

CTS Pin Wax Seal

Get rid of those boring inter-office envelopes.

CTS Wax Seal

Send your audiovisual specifications IN STYLE!

What alternative ways have you used your CTS, CTS-D, or CTS-I certification pin? Any crazy ideas? Send them to pkav.info@gmail.com.  

ps- One reader wrote me an email and said “I have always used my pins as a tie tack behind the tie to hold the tail in place. That way you see nothing on the front of the tie.” Another reader suggestions included using their CTS-D pins as tacks on their corkboard.  Keep the suggestions coming!

(Smart)Phone Etiquette

Have a P.A.I.R. and Kill Phone Zombies

Guest blogger Dan Wojenski is an I.T. Technician at Geller & Company in New York, NY.  His previous employers include A&E Networks, and Apple, and UBS AG.  Dan is also a 20+ year musician (drums).Dan Wojenski

“To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late. To be late is unacceptable.” Wisdom I first heard from a teacher I didn’t like and barely listened to. But when I hit the working world, it was etched in my memory, and therefore I was seldom late.  Etiquette comes from strange places.  We hear it, see it, and sometimes, we ignore it.  But you can not ignore etiquette if you want to succeed in the business world.

I remember having extensive customer service training when I was employed by an insurance company. The instructor said, “It doesn’t really matter what you say, if you say it with genuine tones of respect.” He was right.  I began to see the power in negotiation, conversation, and even just casual speaking. You can look someone in the eye and tell them a monkey just farted in his or her soup, did a backflip, and laughed away from the table. While ridiculous, if said with genuine confidence, there’s not much to argue.  Obviously a dramatic example, but the point is clear.  The same can be said about my topic today: (Smart)Phone Etiquette.

Patience. Attention. Intelligence. Responsiveness. =  P.A.I.R.  (I’ve always wanted to do that.) These are a few of the traits required to have a conversation on a professional level. Whether a person is a CEO or the building maintenance crew, proper etiquette is essential to building trust and earning respect. The world is evolving into a social media frenzy that #occupies a large percentage of our daily conversations. It is very easy to allow the technology to control our manners or even our attitudes.  It creates what is known as the “Phone Zombie.”  A plain traditional Zombie appears lifeless, apathetic, or completely unaware of his or her surroundings.  Now add a phone to that picture you have a Phone Zombie.

For example: You are talking to your manager and they suddenly start typing fiendishly on a Blackberry.  All it took was a vibration or beep.  They stop listening to you and begin paying attention to the text flying in from some other virtual source. There is no issue with that; except you and your manager were just mid-conversation, talking about company business, at the same company in which you are currently standing! Even if it were an emergency, there is no excuse for not politely removing themselves from the conversation they are currently in with you. No excuse, none.  It takes five seconds to say, “Excuse me I have an emergency that I need to attend to, can we please pick this up when I get back?”  Courtesy is still relevant, and will not cost you anything, except maybe an angry employee or coworker.

For my next point we can venture out of the workplace.  The old saying was, “[so-and-so] can’t walk and chew gum at the same time” or something like that.  Nowadays, it’s all too common to see people texting,  mp3-ing, streaming, drinking, eating, and all while doing something that can seriously hurt someone: driving.  No text or song is worth twenty years in prison, or the guilt you will suffer for the rest of your life if you accidentally take another’s.  We all have our vices but, in my opinion, vehicular homicide should not be on the top of your list!

By no means am I saying never text, never email, or never surf on my devices. I’m doing it right now! This article was drafted during my commute (subway), at home, and on my lunch breaks at work.  I was not typing this post in the middle of a meeting, typing away at my smartphone under the table, while supporting my false arm with the other hand.  Today’s companies want employees who can multitask, without ignoring their superiors. In-person conversations and meetings have a point, and your superiors will judge you based on how you act during them.  You can see reactions, feel the tone, and feed off each other’s ideas.  Brainstorming anyone?  Even bad news is better in person.  Would you really want to hear about your job loss in an email or an accidental post in the termination mailbox?  If you do, just stop reading now, as it probably has already happened.

There is one business thriving off this behavior: Social engineering. They will have your credentials before you even look up to see the stairs you’re about to trip on.  The money will be gone faster than you can swipe L-A-R-C-E-N-Y on your touchscreen. The amount of information released into the open air due to phones and other connected devices is staggering. I was on an hour-long commute the other day and within minutes had this woman’s name, social security number, credit card numbers, security codes, pin, and I was not the only one that could hear her! I hope she was lucky, but some part of me is saying, “Get her some nice new credit and debt she never wanted.”

Life teaches us lessons.  Listening to them is my lesson for you today. Try not to end up here: http://textface.com/