« Previous | Main | Next »

There is a new phone system at the office.

Eddie Mair | 10:23 UK time, Wednesday, 27 May 2009


It seems that if someone rings in from a private/withheld number, it can't then be transferred or put on common hold. But if it's a number that shows up, it can.


  • 1. At 10:36am on 27 May 2009, Fifi wrote:

    Well that's a bit silly then, isn't it?

    (Does anyone still use the old Monarch switchboard, I wonder? The one with fingertip-sized dimples instead of buttons, that beeped reassuringly instead of clicking... ah, happy days.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 10:38am on 27 May 2009, tug wrote:

    It's a morning for stupidity.

    I have just received a letter from the Nationwide asking for proof of identity for and account I have had for a couple of years. They will accept a the statement of this account as proof of identity and the mortgage statement that they have just sent me as proof of address.

    They are wasting their money and my time to achieve exactly nothing.

    At least you'll get a software update at some point to fix your problem, Eddie.

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 10:45am on 27 May 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I hope its a bit more efficient than the PM blog. This morning got notice from the mods that they had removed a post of mine from almost two weeks ago.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 10:47am on 27 May 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Fifi: You should try one of these!
    In one of my very first jobs after leaving school, I was 'relief telephonist' on one of these. I used to love operating it. Happy days!

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 10:52am on 27 May 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Not very ergonomic, Eddie. The keypad's flat and parallel to the desk. A good keypad should be angled, so you don't have to reach further to hit the top keys compared to the bottom keys (if you get what I mean!). Also, I see the handset's fairly rectangular. I always find those more uncomfortable to use myself. Much better to have a curved handset :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 10:56am on 27 May 2009, Fifi wrote:

    Tug (2) : My friend's husband died. The same people you're dealing with processed his 'deceased' notification and added her own in as well, despite her being still alive, if kicking only feebly.

    All her money was frozen. Direct Debits started being returned unpaid. The only thing still working was, bizarrely, their joint credit card - and she had to pay for the funeral with that.

    The 'bereavement department' ignored every communication on the subject - including internal phone calls and emails from the local branch.

    More than a year later, and after a breakdown, she's still trying to sort it all out.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 11:05am on 27 May 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Fearless: But Bang and Olufsen-type design statements are, well, so much more elegant, don't you think? ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 11:27am on 27 May 2009, Allan Lewis wrote:

    Looks like an old Amstrad...

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 11:45am on 27 May 2009, DI_Wyman wrote:

    Can you get Wake up to Wogan on it?

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 11:47am on 27 May 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Fifi - I really think we need to know more about this, but I suspect your chum wouldn't be up to talking about. Perhaps this is the REAL explanation for their poor figures, not some spurious excuse about the 'government loan insurance'...


    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 11:51am on 27 May 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh Allen (8) You're for it now .....!


    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 11:55am on 27 May 2009, Fifi wrote:

    Big Sister: now THAT makes my Monarch look positively modern!

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 12:03pm on 27 May 2009, JasonG wrote:

    Does it do Latte?

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 12:18pm on 27 May 2009, Stewart_M wrote:

    I'm sure costbucks coffee will be speed dial 1.

    Can we have the phone number? Purely for research purposes in that we can ring with our numbers withheld.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 12:29pm on 27 May 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Feefs, but that switchboard was so much fun. It was a PBX switchboard, and although it looks extremely ancient, was in service from the sixties onwards. Needless to say, it was some time later that I had the pleasure of working it. Very similar to the switchboards used throughout the Post Office, I believe, but on a smaller scale.

    Later on, I also used models like this, too, which really worked on the same principle but without the plugs to pull in, etc. And, of course, there were no headphones ...


    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 12:29pm on 27 May 2009, David A-J wrote:

    Can we have the old one ? The Flag Semaphore system we have is OK but not many Secretarial Colleges teach Semaphore these days, and getting staff is becoming a drag...

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 12:36pm on 27 May 2009, eddiemair wrote:

    I was just wondering why the usual din of ringing phones has been almost entirely absent...when an email arrived explaining that they're trying to sort the new system which apparently doesn't ring, but merely flashes a tiny red light which is clearly visible if you're staring at the phone the whole time.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 12:38pm on 27 May 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Eddie: do you feel like you are really working inside a sitcom?

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 12:44pm on 27 May 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Eddie: Do you remember Not the Nine o'clock News deaf telephone sketch? - Sounds suspiciously like Rowan Atkinson's had a hand in the design of your telephone! ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 12:45pm on 27 May 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    So Eddie, let me get this right - you now have a new telephone that doesn't ring ( no use to Peter White then) and won't let you use it in the manner of a normal telephone to connect your caller (let's say a wrong number) and anyone else (the person they should have dialed).

    And how much has this gem cost?

    PS I agree about square handsets too - I foresee lots of sickness claims relating to hand injury.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 12:47pm on 27 May 2009, tug wrote:

    Eddie, the engineer's solution:

    A photosensor taped on the red light which trips a relay which applies power to an old fashioned telephone bell. This "for the time being" solution would probably last for 10-15 years.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 12:54pm on 27 May 2009, philmuc wrote:

    Oh snazzy new voip phone :) got same model on my desk here. The hardware voip is a lot better than the software voip - theres nothing like being on a telco when your notebook crashes. The voip system doesnt realise you have crashed and just plays hold music into the rest of the telco...

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 12:57pm on 27 May 2009, eddiemair wrote:

    Just tried to make a call. Got the engaged signal, then a very handy thing came up, offering a "call back" facility. I cursored to it, pressed ok, and a recorded woman said that facility was not available.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 12:58pm on 27 May 2009, eddiemair wrote:

    (22), it IS voip but the voip has not been connected yet.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 1:01pm on 27 May 2009, DI_Wyman wrote:

    It seems that if someone rings in from a private/withheld number, it can't then be transferred or put on common hold.

    I took a call from the BBC last Wednesday evening and the call log on my mobile has (no number).

    Ironic or what?

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 1:01pm on 27 May 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Sounds like you should have stayed in bed today, Eddie! ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 1:20pm on 27 May 2009, Fifi wrote:

    Big Sister: I was trained on the Monarch by a GPO-trained telephonist at Scotland's first commercial radio station. She loved that machine, because the principles were so similar to the old plug-tastic switchboards.

    I once placed a call to Sean Connery at his Spanish residence using it, for the Production team, because their extensions were barred for outgoing international calls.

    To my great disappointment it was his lovely wife who answered...

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 1:27pm on 27 May 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Eddie: "a recorded woman"?

    What an appropriate woman for a radio programme.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 1:29pm on 27 May 2009, JasonG wrote:

    Eddie, you know The Truman Show...

    My phone at work has been set up to divert to a lovely clerical assistant if an external call comes in and I don't answer it within 2 rings. In case said clerical assistant is away from her desk, she has an answerphone to record messages which she later relays to me.

    This is to ensure calls are handled as efficiently as possible, apparently.

    Two issues with this...

    First, I have an answerphone sat on my desk that is now apparently redundant.

    Second, no one told me about this arrangement. I only found out on Monday when she returned from a three-week trip back to Turkey and was rather worried about the very urgent messages left for me 19 days earlier....

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 1:46pm on 27 May 2009, Happyhomeworker wrote:


    Good to know my licence fee (due shortly, will consider whether I should pay it) is being put to such good use.

    Hats off to the person in your procurement section who managed to buy such a great system. I trust you will reward him/her in the appropriate fashion!

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 2:49pm on 27 May 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Big Sis, (4)

    Gawd almighty big sis, did the man standing behind ride the bicycle to supply the electric? Or just to make sure you spoke the Queens English?

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 3:23pm on 27 May 2009, Charlie wrote:

    An acquantance knows an electronics/computer "Gnius" - which I should say, everyone is, compared to me.

    Anyway, I understand "Gnius" says that when someone makes a call and withholds their number, their number is actually sent and received by the phone at the other end.

    BUT, the receiving phone also receives, along with the caller's number, a code signal (3-digits(?)) which disables it's number display and last call number memory (or whatever).

    So, "Gnius" it seems has re-programmed his mobile and his other phones so that they DO show and record "withheld" numbers.

    Numerous people have used various phones witholding the numbers and "Gnius" can always tell which phone number the caller's on...

    Hardly surprising I guess, when people can hack into places like the Pentagon.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 5:37pm on 27 May 2009, Fifi wrote:

    Jason (29) : Good to see you back!!!!

    Lord BG (10) : My friend is still very fragile and probably wouldn't make a good direct interview. However if neither the wunch* who did this, nor the ombudsman, will put things right ... who knows what avenues will be left? Ewan Ures perhaps. Or Watchdog.

    * half a spoon is better than nothing

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 5:39pm on 27 May 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Joe (31) You're very sweet, but that isn't me in the photo - and by the look of her, she's old enough to be my mother/grandmother by now! ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 10:35pm on 27 May 2009, mittfh wrote:

    Perhaps one of the reasons for Nationwide's troubles is this (quoted from the Graniaud article linked above)...

    "The Swindon-based group has merged with the building societies Portman, Cheshire and Derbyshire, and taken over parts of the collapsed Dunfermline."

    A single merger / takeover can be costly enough in terms of finance, time and efficiency:
    * Translating and importing all the data from the acquired organisation's systems (e.g. payroll, CRM, accounts)
    * Mapping all the acquired organisation's policies, procedures and account types into Nationwide's equivalents.
    * Merging networks - probably involving installing new software on the acquired organisation's computers
    * Finding and recycling all stationary using the acquired organisation's name - and printing tons of new stationary featuring Nationwide's name
    * New staff uniforms
    * Staff training
    * Branch makeovers.

    Remember the chaos at Somerfield after it acquired Kwik Save, or at Morrisons after they acquired Safeway?

    Now imagine half a dozen or so different acquisitions within a few years.

    Possibly as a result of this, some customers may have experienced poor customer service, illogical policies and procedures, an absence of common sense and possibly even staff confusion ("Hello, Por...sorry, Nationwide!").

    Meanwhile, it'll be interesting to see what happens if Britannia (possibly Nationwide's main rival in the mutual sector) and the Co-op are given the green light to merge.

    And, talking of the Co-op, it'll be interesting to see how their retail division copes with absorbing Somerfield...

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 2:19pm on 30 May 2009, Squirrel wrote:

    And, talking of the Co-op, it'll be interesting to see how their retail division copes with absorbing Somerfield...

    I just wish they would get on with it! My local Co-Op closed ages ago, but I have THREE Somerfield stores within a mile..

    Also three tesco stores, but I try to just ignore those! ;-)

    {other major supermarkets also trade in the area}

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 3:27pm on 18 Mar 2010, Anthony Nigel wrote:

    Sounds like an impressive telephone system, thanks for putting me off upgrading to VOIP. That'll save me a few bob. I was thinking of getting my 5 employees some mobile phones, vodafone seem to have great mobile contracts for business users..

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS


Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.