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Do you have problems speaking on the phone? Do people understand you?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Mr Allen, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Mr Allen

    Mr Allen Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Above.

    Generally I'm good on the phone, I know some Aspies are scared of the phone and don't use it, but I don't have that problem.

    Apart from I despise talking to call centres in general, because due to my distinctive local accent, the Foreign ones in particular can't understand me.

    Does anyone else who is Aspie have similar problems or is it just me? Or them being annoying?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
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  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    There's nothing annoying or deliberate about one having a regional accent. Chances are in dealing with others in customer service over the phone that both parties have some kind of accent. Another aspect of a global economy not likely to go away.

    Logically there's no reason to expect or demand that those in a customer service capacity learn your dialect, let alone the psychology of optimally dealing with customers. That simply isn't going to happen, apart from the fact that such employees are not compensated to expect such a thing. And communications technology firms aren't going to invest in such services just to cater to people like you or me.

    While there's nothing you can do about a bad connection short of hanging up and calling again, what you must keep in perspective is the obvious. That it is you who seeks help from them. It means that it is ultimately up to you to learn to speak in a clearer manner. That's really your only recourse. Especially given this seems to happen to you quite often.

    You might also consider scripting what your problem is. To determine before you call to choose the best words and sentences in writing required to clearly explain what your problem might be. It may help.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
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  3. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I have this problem too, because I'm a foreigner speaking with an accent. I have to speak slowly and clearly. The other problem is that they are following scripts and often don't really know how to help. As long as you fall within the script it's fine, but if your problem doesn't fit, it stumps them. Sometimes they are helpful, other times not. Another thing, they keep passing you on, or to and fro like a ping pong ball, hours of waiting with that irritating music or recorded messages. I think that no one likes this, and I always try to find a solution online first before resorting to calling the services.
     
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  4. WildCat

    WildCat V.I.P Member

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    No one's being annoying, it's the result of them having a hard to understand accent. It could also have to do with the quality of the call, so trying to pin fault solely on either side doesn't always work.

    While I don't look forward to dealing with muffled phone calls and/or accents, it's a must sometimes. I know the feeling and there's no way around it other than to try to adapt and listen a bit more carefully than is normally called for. If that isn't the solution, find something else that works. Didn't you mention before that you have problems with hearing, and if so could that contribute to it?

    If there's enough patience to go around, asking for a repeat or two (or three, with an excuse on top if needed) isn't the end of the world, but you've got to somehow deal with it as much as the next person with these troubles.
     
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  5. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Good point. I've learned over the years when contacting my cable provider the difference between what a call center can field versus what a technical service rep making a house call can achieve.

    In technical services I suspect more often than not this is the case. Where the mainstream customer service staff has a very limited technical understanding of what is happening. Especially when you consider service provided over large areas or entire countries.

    Where even if both parties understand each other with relative clarity, problem-solving may still be elusive.
     
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  6. Streetwise

    Streetwise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The one thing I've learned ,tell them you wont communicate via the telephone.
    I do everything by email .
     
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  7. Aura Celeste

    Aura Celeste Well-Known Member

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    I have a "phonaphobia". I mean, I do have a phobia of talking on the phone even for social purposes, unless I am very close to the person in question.

    I dread making phone calls. I put it off for as long as I can and especially if I have to speak in a foreign language, I script out all I need to ask in my head first, or write it down on paper. Sometimes I will ask if they speak English, which makes it a little easier for me. Having said that, it is getting easier for me. It depends upon what language I have to speak in too. Obviously, I have much less anxiety if I can speak English.
     
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  8. VJCJ0628

    VJCJ0628 Well-Known Member

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    I hate this, I am having an issue right now with the vendor for my office phones and fax, I have had an account manager that has been great, I don't know what happened to him, but he is gone and they are sending me to customer service when I had an issue after an update they did.

    I don't know what the problem is but I do know several things it is not Because it's not in their script I keep going in circles with them., I will have a new account manager next week, As I snapped, Friday, after 3 days of the same circles
     
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  9. J.T.

    J.T. Curb Killer

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    I used to have problems talking on the phone, especially leaving messages. I never knew what to say. It got better with time the more I had to use a phone for my job. Now I just make sure I have a message ready before I call. Sometimes I mess up when I go off script and it sounds like word salad by the end. At least that's my perception.

    When I am talking to someone on the phone it can be difficult to understand them unless I'm already very familiar with their voice type. My brain has problems as it is misinterpreting what's heard in general so it doesn't help not being able to see their lips.
     
  10. pjcnet

    pjcnet Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I hate using the phone and it makes me almost feel fearful, especially to people I don't know and much more if I have to ring them, I have to almost rehearse what I'm going to say round and round in my head, it's so much easier for me to avoid it if I possibly can. I also struggle to process voices which means I'm always asking for people to repeat themselves and people often complain that I'm not listening or that I'm deaf, but I can hear perfectly fine and unfortunately some people don't believe a word I'm saying when I try to explain why. This problem can be even worse on the phone, especially if the person I'm talking to has a strong accent, E.g. a foreign accent.

    Even though talking to people with very different accents to themselves is likely to be more difficult for most people including NTs, I suspect it's particularly difficult for myself. This problem can be more common these days with call centres** sometimes being located in countries where there's cheaper labour, E.g. India, in such countries many customer service agents have to speak in English when it's their second language and to be honest they usually do very well under the circumstances, I couldn't speak a word of Indian for instance, but it's still often more difficult for an English person to understand them, especially when it's someone like myself who often struggles to process people's voices anyway. It's can also be more difficult for them to understand an English person, although most seem to do pretty well with myself that way around and it probably comes with a lot of practice.

    ** "centres" is spelt correctly in UK English, it's spelt "centers" in American English.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
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  11. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    Usually I'm good on the phone but I tend to mumble from time to time.
     
  12. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    I don’t like talking on the phone, but I have no trouble making myself understood.
     
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  13. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm one that doesn't like talking on the phone if I can keep from it.
    I never know what to say if I get a leave a message recording.
    I stumble around with that a bit.
    Yet because I don't like using the phone I do the same thing to those calling.
    Leave a message. I don't answer the phone.
    It's usually robot calls or some solicitor anyway as I only have two people who call me
    and one who texts. (another Aspie who doesn't like to use his phone also.)

    The worst is call centers like for insurance or services departments.
    They put you on hold for half an hour or transfer you from one person to the next and the next.
    Then while listening to horrible on hold music for another half an hour you suddenly hear beep, beep, beep.
    Sometimes I do think they hang up on purpose when they get tired of trying to get information for you.
     
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  14. musicalman

    musicalman Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I have some problems on the phone too. I used to absolutely dread calling tech support or important people. The reason I was afraid was that I didn't want to show how awkward I am. I eventually got to a point where I said, well I'll just be awkward, and whatever happens will happen.

    Turns out, I can speak fairly well on the phone if I don't worry. If I caught in a word bind, I can normally get myself out of it. I don't even need a detailed script anymore, just knowing what I am going to talk about and having a few notes for things I would like to specifically bring up will suffice now.

    As for not being able to hear people, there are certain things that really make it hard for me. Dialects are generally okay if the audio quality of the call is good. But some are just atrocious. Some people don't hold a phone correctly. They have it down by their chin or neck, or they're shouting across the room on speaker phone. Some call me in a car in a bad area, or even worse, call me or accept my call when they're in a crazy loud environment where we can't hear each other over the noise. And some phones just sound bad no matter what, though thankfully I think phones are sounding better, especially with HD calls. I really do like those.

    Possibly the most cryptic phone audio distortion I know of is noise cancellation. On a lot of smart phones there is a mic on the top edge or the back, opposite to your mouth. Its purpose is to capture environmental noise and cancel it from the mic that's close to your mouth. If you accidentally cover this noise capturing mic, or wrap your hand over it, the cancellation gets all screwed up and speech is muffled severely. I've had this happen with a few people and I have to try and explain this to them and it blows their mind. The only reason I figured it out was that I had known that IPhones had a mic for that purpose but I didn't know where it was, until I inadvertently covered it during a phone call and the person on the other end said they couldn't understand me so I put two and two together. Then I called my land line and recorded the call, because I am the weird sort of guy who would test something like that, and figured it out. So yeah, geeky audio story for the day lol
     
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  15. Adora

    Adora Well-Known Member

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    I am not a fan of using my phone plus I hate leaving voice messages because I end up a mumbling mess.
     
  16. AO1501

    AO1501 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have serious issues using the phone, not least because I often cannot hear what the other person is saying if there are sounds local to me that I can't filter. I typically use my cellphone where I can plug in a headset and use that, which makes it a bit easier.

    People don't seem to have a problem understanding me, but since I have problems processing conversations in real time, particularly with people I don't know well, I often get stuck trying to work out what to say, or how to express myself as I intend.

    I am better face to face in that respect because I have visual cues to rely on to help determine what I say, but absent those, I find myself stumbling in phone conversations quite a lot.

    Phone calls are very stressful events, so I typically pace around throughout all of them.
     
  17. DCA

    DCA Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I unfortunately have to use the phone every day at my job, talking to clients. I really don't like to, but fortunately most of what I have to communicate is highly scripted (by me), so the vast majority of what I do is on autopilot. The worst is when I'm waiting for something & the customer engages me in small talk. It's hard for me to keep the conversation going. Fortunately that's not too often. One issue I do have is apparently not quite understanding when I am supposed to talk, so tend to overtalk people all the time. A lot of that is because I already know what the customer wants within the first 3 seconds of the conversation & want to move on, yet they share a lot of verbosity & details I really don't need. That can be frustrating. Still with friends or family I'd prefer to text.
     
  18. ezcare

    ezcare Aspie Advocate and Proponent of the Golden Rule V.I.P Member

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    In my 20's through 50's I avoided phone conversations as much as possible. Even at work where everyone had a phone on his/her desk I preferred to walk over to the person I wanted to talk to rather than talk over the phone. I think the reason was that I have trouble reading non-vocal messages [facial expressions and body language] even when I am addressing the person directly. So I feared misinterpreting their words. As I matured and became more comfortable on the job, I decided that it was now their responsibility to understand me since I outranked most of them.
     
  19. ezcare

    ezcare Aspie Advocate and Proponent of the Golden Rule V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to the Aspie world;)
     
  20. Katherine Rawstron

    Katherine Rawstron Colourfreak

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    I hate phones, especially in the workplace. It reeks of Demand! Demand! Demand! I hated being expected to drop whatever I was doing and come running, often for something trivial and, if it was at the busiest time of day, was often something that could've waited until later.

    I resented being forced to abandon residents (when working for people with learning disabilities) I was trying to care for; and when banking, (in a lending centre, not a branch), struggling against the clock to get customers served while being stopped by branches phoning over petty things they should've been able to deal with themselves. I did try to see things from their point of view, but it was hard. As far as I was concerned, I was there to serve customers (i.e. deal with their requests to pay off loans, deal with overdrafts etc., with the system timing out, so there really were time constraints), and customers I was jolly well going to serve!

    Later on, I had to deal with customer complaints, and although sometimes things were straightforward and people were appreciative, other times, they were angry, blaming me for things that weren't my fault, and I was expected to deal with it. There was training of course, but the customers never responded they way we were lead to expect them to!

    The whole thing was a nightmare, and I'm glad to be out of it.
     
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