Answering machines frustrate phone callers

THERE is an increasing tendency among businesses and state departments to use the obnoxious practice of responding to telephone calls with voice-mail instructions. We are told to press buttons - from one to nine in some cases.

I hate talking to machines because invariably the reason for phoning does not fall entirely within the reason for the phone call. And one cannot explain that to the machine.

It would be much better to have friendly, trained and knowledgeable operators who could divert calls to the right departments or officials.

The voice-mail system does not add to efficiency, but results in many people hanging up in frustration.

It could be that the perpetrators of this obnoxious system just could not be bothered to train efficient telephone operators.

VA Volker, Pietermaritzburg