Looking and listening


A bit more than a year ago, I had a list of questions for a pay-to-play voiceover website regarding the specifics of a new business service they were offering. I read what information they had to offer and the questions some of their other voice actor clients raised, and based my own questions on those. I sent those questions soon after I received the notice of the service being put into use. When those questions went unanswered, I sent them again the following month. I e-mailed them to follow up on an unscheduled phone call I'd received regarding those questions; that e-mail went unanswered. I did my part for months to try to understand their policy, and requested information on what I didn't.

I was willing to listen.

The last information on this issue I read on that website was that they clarified the service policy to their voice seeker clients, but mentioned nothing about the voice actors' side of the deal. The website had ample time to answer my questions on their own policy, but only sent carefully worded platitudes after I sent an outright complaint, bouncing me around multiple customer service reps in the process. That's when I stopped my paid subscription on that website.

Getting information on a question that affects you, and getting it in full, goes a long way to improving understanding; and for something like this, I don't want anyone else's punditry or spin - I want the information directly from the source. When I questioned them on the issue, the website I railed against above was silent for too long a time. Recently, this same website had a webinar with a Q&A segment. Whether or not it was prerecorded, I don't know, but using that method to save time in a busy business, especially by reading back FAQs common to most audiences? Been done, wouldn't be surprised, wouldn't even blame them. However, I sent the presenter another list of questions. They were wordy, so not too shocked that they weren't answered in the webinar, so I e-mailed them to the address provided.

In the third e-mail in that chain, I told the presenter I was a former customer, and looked for additional clarification on a point earlier in the message. It's been a few days now, and I'm still waiting for the response to that e-mail. To be fair, I did heavily imply that I was entirely unwilling to do business with them, and I'm willing now to let them know that I think their communication is a result of having enough time to work on their spin rather than any concrete improvement on their business practices.

I was willing to listen.

Maybe I'm shoehorning this connection to issues in the world at large, but this is an example of the process I prefer to use: before getting angry about anything on the news, first find a source of information as close to the issue as possible, then decide whether or not to grab a torch and pitchfork. In my view, the reason such a hullabaloo has been made about fake news is that critical (analytical, not nagging grandmother) reading is becoming a lost skill, and an attitude of TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) prevails. I think part of that is due to those who obfuscate information by bombarding people with an embarrassment of it in polysyllabic vocabulary (think EULA and TOS legalese and what I just did there), counting on people getting sick of the blah blah blah and just reading the headlines and nodding along. Part of it is due to those who have gotten used to just reading the headlines, and who no longer bother to ask the questions or go deeper for the facts behind the blurb. Hiding the bull in huge or pretty words doesn't work as well on people who still read the EULA, so what resort do those with the bull have except silence? That silence is what I had a problem with.

Got something to say on this? I'm waiting.

Updated 3/10/18 to add: another review on the same P2P's gone up, and if that review is true, the P2P's only changed that business service in name, not in practice. Call me difficult if you will - better that than what they are.

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