VA adds 'and a wake up' to automated phone wait time

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs will soon replace its automated system announcing telephone wait time, to address concerns about the length and accuracy of those times, Secretary Robert McDonald announced today.

The “revolutionary technology” would automatically add the words “and a wake up” to the estimated time given by the former system, ensuring the needs of veterans will be met statistically faster than ever before.

For instance, when the system would previously announce, “Your expected wait time is two hours,” it will now tell a caller, “Your expected wait time is two hours — and a wake up,” or, the alternating message, “Your call matters to us. An operator will be with you in two hours and a wake up.”

McDonald believes this will really improve the VA's statistics.

“We’ll blow our projected wait times out of the water,” he said. “Now when the Veteran calls in and gets that message, and we get to him after only five and a half hours, they’ll be much happier because we’ve exceeded their expectations.”

“It’s like when the cable company tells you they’ll be there between 8am and 5pm.” he elaborated. “When they show up at noon, you don’t think about the four hours you lost. You think about the five hours you didn’t have to wait and you’re happy.”

The new system was developed by “Redundant Industries,” and the VA expects a Redundant system in every facility by the end of the fiscal year 2046.

When asked why they didn’t just update or replace the older system to include the new message, McDonald turned the press conference over to Redundant Industries Chief Technology Officer, retired Gen. Eric Shinseki.

“Efficient, simple solutions are not really what we’re about at Redundant,” Shinseki said. “Why change out something that works when instead you can just add a newer and more complicated system to it and get the same end result? At the end of the day, it’s about giving our nation’s Veterans what they deserve.”