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View Full Version : Giving someone a phone number or email address over the phone



bighead384
10-23-2012, 10:26 AM
I think the way it should be is that if you are the one giving the number, you say it once, and then they repeat it. I don't like people who insist on saying "ok" after every three digits. Also, when it comes to the last four digits, I like to just say them in one breath rather than pausing after the first two digits.

Email addresses? I don't like all that "M as in Mary" bullshit. It's very possible that it's just me, but that confuses me somehow. I'd rather just hear it once and then read it back.

"Melyssa K" Kennedy
10-23-2012, 10:31 AM
If people would speak slowly enough the first time, then it wouldn't be a problem. Texting the info also works, though, that is typically only an option when communicating with friends.

T-6005
10-23-2012, 12:16 PM
It's not about speed. It's about clarity.

To put myself through school I've been working at a call center for the last few years, and the biggest thing it teaches you is that people are absolutely incomprehensible, especially over the phone.

Letters sound like other letters very easily. B and P, F and S, D and T, M and N - they can be pretty difficult to separate even when people speak clearly. And since most people like to eat mashed potatoes before calling their service providers, it's just that much worse.

The truth is that you have the five seconds to add the information that will make an agent or another person get your details right over the phone the first time. It won't ruin your day unless you insist on having your day ruined. If you have to repeat yourself because you're calling from next to a waterfall and babbling like a loon, it's your own damn fault.

As for phone numbers, it's a matter of convention. In Canada and the United States, the numbers are grouped into three sections. The first is the area code, or the NPA. Very often, if you seriously have the wrong place they can tell from your number - if I get a call from a 312 number I know it isn't for me since that's a Chicago area code and I don't take calls from non-Canadian numbers. The next three digits are the NXX and essentially further localizes the number. there are a few other things you can tell from the NXX - if someone gives you one that has any number followed by "11", like 611 or 711, you know it's wrong. That's because dialing locally people don't need to put in area codes, so NXX codes in North America avoid *11 configurations to avoid misdials to 911, 411, or 611.

That's the convention - but unless you already know that, being thrown hundreds of area codes can be annoying, and actually retaining a ten-digit number in one go is frustrating for many people. So we break it up by the conventions that determine the numbers.

In Europe (in France, anyway) it's a little bit different, but the numbers are still broken down. From what I've seen it's the first four digits followed by the next groups of two. 0297367781, for example, would be Zero-Two Ninety-Seven, Thirty-Six Seventy-Seven Eighty-One. I've never heard people say 029-736-7781, even though it's the same number.

Again, this is all background. The real point is that if you're clear about your information, you save yourself time in the long run of four minutes that is the agony of figuring out that yes, that charge is valid and no, if you'd looked at your bill you would have seen that there is no error on it. No, you did make that call. Yes, yes you did. Stop it.

It's about communicating effectively.

"Melyssa K" Kennedy
10-23-2012, 12:51 PM
Hmm, yeah, I forgot about clarity. When I leave my number for doctor's offices and such, I try to add a small verbal pause between each number and enunciate the sound clearly, as well as leaving the message away from noisy backgrounds.
It's true that people run their sounds together in a form comparable to a typed sentence without spaces. Except that you don't have the luxury of looking over what they said, you have to instead ask, "WHAT?"

XYlophonetreeZ
10-23-2012, 01:17 PM
I have a "one six" in my number, and I hate it when people repeat it back to me as "sixteen." I hear "six" before the "one" that way and start to open my mouth to correct them.

bighead384
10-23-2012, 01:31 PM
I have a "one six" in my number, and I hate it when people repeat it back to me as "sixteen." I hear "six" before the "one" that way and start to open my mouth to correct them.

Dude, I fucking hate this. I also hate when a numbers ends in say 9800 and they say "ninety eight hundred". I want to verify each digit individually, damnit!

Anyone have an opinion on the whole "M as in Mary" system? I don't like when people do that before I've had trouble with the name/address.

"Melyssa K" Kennedy
10-23-2012, 01:56 PM
Anyone have an opinion on the whole "M as in Mary" system? I don't like when people do that before I've had trouble with the name/address.

I know they use a similar system in the military and on the police force. I think that's good, though. You don't want to call in a wrong code in either of those circumstances! But in everyday life, it just seems rather tedious and unnecessary.

Tijs
10-23-2012, 02:53 PM
It's been proven that the most mistakes in writing down numbers are made in The Netherlands and Germany. Reason for this is because of the "sixteen" case above. We have that for all numbers.

Twentysix = six-and-twenty in Dutch/German.

So yeah, I annoys me too when I say "two six" and hear "six-and-twenty" back.

Most of the times I ask if they can read the number I'm calling with on their screen, but the other day I found out that that didn't work that well either. My number starts with 4777, they wrote down 4744. Seriously?

Godxilla
10-23-2012, 03:20 PM
I know they use a similar system in the military and on the police force. I think that's good, though. You don't want to call in a wrong code in either of those circumstances! But in everyday life, it just seems rather tedious and unnecessary.

Ha ha, I agree. I actually know a decent amount of that code. And if anybody cares, it's "Mike" in military code. I actually know the letters up until I and the final 2 letters, plus O and M. Confusing stuff.

And today, I had to write down a phone number. The stupid fool said that last 4 numbers were 97860, I think. Yeah, 5 letters. Then she hung up before I could point that out.

"Melyssa K" Kennedy
10-23-2012, 03:33 PM
Ha ha, I agree. I actually know a decent amount of that code. And if anybody cares, it's "Mike" in military code. I actually know the letters up until I and the final 2 letters, plus O and M. Confusing stuff.

And today, I had to write down a phone number. The stupid fool said that last 4 numbers were 97860, I think. Yeah, 5 letters. Then she hung up before I could point that out.

Wow, only in scientific notation is 97860 four digits (significant figures!)

I heard Nick say zebra in an episode of CSI when calling in a code for a death. Maybe it's zebra for z.

Llamas
10-23-2012, 04:02 PM
It's been proven that the most mistakes in writing down numbers are made in The Netherlands and Germany. Reason for this is because of the "sixteen" case above. We have that for all numbers.

Twentysix = six-and-twenty in Dutch/German.
I'd imagine that Slovenia ranks with the Netherlands and Germany, then, cause they say their numbers that way, as well. I'm used to it cause I speak German, but it can still be really confusing when I hear the "wrong number" first.

Harleyquiiinn
10-24-2012, 01:52 AM
And that's how we learn that T-6005 probably has family in the north-west of France :D

Godxilla
10-24-2012, 05:21 PM
Wow, only in scientific notation is 97860 four digits (significant figures!)

I heard Nick say zebra in an episode of CSI when calling in a code for a death. Maybe it's zebra for z.

Actually it's Zulu. But whatever. And nice job on the sig figs reference!

T-6005
10-25-2012, 07:47 AM
And that's how we learn that T-6005 probably has family in the north-west of France :D

I knew you would catch that.

"Melyssa K" Kennedy
10-25-2012, 08:04 AM
Actually it's Zulu. But whatever. And nice job on the sig figs reference!

ROFL! Either I remembered it wrong or they said it wrong on the show! It was in the beginning of the episodes called "Unleashed." XD