Date: Thu, 4 Mar 93 17:03:40 PST
Subject: High-tech sociology
From Daniel Steinberg:
At a recent conference on Speech Interfaces, a representative from
one of the telephone operating companies reported that they had
begun using automated 'dunning' calls (calls to customers whose
bills are overdue, threatening excommunication, as it were).
They found that customers paid up faster when they received these
calls from a computer with voice synthesis than when an actual
human being called them up. The reason, they surmised, was that
the customers assumed that if the computer had called them, then
perhaps a real person did not yet know that their bill was overdue
and, if they paid real quick perhaps it would be taken care of before
a human found out about it.
And from the Jan/Feb issue of _Health_ magazine p. 53:
Talk About Paying Through the Nose...
Bill-collection agencies in England began lacing their invoices with a
product containing androstenone, a chemical secreted from men's armpits and
groins that is known to be a sex attractant in some species. In one
preliminary study, mailed invoices treated with the product resulted in a
14 percent higher payment rate than untreated bills.
and from the Art of User Interface design:
The Less Care She Got, The Less She Cared...
A patient in Manchester Royal Infirmary in England was found unconscious
after she mixed up the nurse's call button with the one to give herself more
painkiller and pressed the latter button impatiently for several minutes.
© 1993 Peter Langston