US telephone operators such as AT&T may well be considering expanding their services in the UK in the near future. But they will have to get a few things right if they do.
The Diary, on a recent visit to the US, discovered that its British accent caught out the technology behind the country’s pay phones.
On picking up a handset, the Diary was asked to say the word “operator” into the mouthpiece, to get a phone operator onto the line, who would take details enabling a credit card call to be made.
On the first few attempts, when the system heard “operator” in a clipped British accent, the Diary was told the response had not been recognized.
Eventually, the Diary adopted a Mid-Atlantic drawl and tried “AHP-UR-AI-DOR”. The operator came on the line immediately.
American phone companies obviously designed the technology without their British cousins in mind.