If you don’t want to read this little bit of self praise, move on to my post ‘GOD’S LIVING ROOM’ because that is a cracker. (Oh, sorry, that is more self praise. But so true).

A few weeks ago, I received a totally unintended innocent compliment, an observation that puts all frustration and often pent up anger to bed for a moment. A very discerning colleague who had no ulterior motive or even anything to do with production, audio, direction; not physically responsible within the creative arts per say, completely out of the blue suddenly said; You can tell that you did the Designer Shaik telephone system Geg’. ‘You can? I asked in complete surprise. ‘I’d forgotten about that system, but anyway, how’?

It was not quite the answer I expected;  ‘Well, I just phoned the number and it is so immediate and upfront, so loud and clear and just your no compromise style and voice direction’ came the reply. I have to admit that even the voices used, don’t even recognize themselves doing the reads.  My friend went on to say;  ‘It seems the system is not completely active yet, but sure, that is so obviously your work’.  Now I felt good.

True, I had forgotten all about it and the system remains in the initial stages at the moment and if I know Mohammed Al Asfoor, owner and Chief Executive, it will stay that way until I get off my arse and get him fully connected world wide via VoIP.  But yes, I did initiate the Designer Shaik system with the voices we had available, both directed to the style I suppose they call ‘Geg’.

Designer Shaik is not a showcase by any means, but just a simple start and the fact that it has my recognizable indelible stamp on it, makes me very satisfied and even proud.

We do Zain Bahrain, Zain Sudan and have won awards in Kuwait with Gulf Bank and several other major banks in various countries.   **Update: No more Gulf Bank.  Staff changed and new people came.  Suddenly we got what we call in the trade ‘Cedared’.  The new people were our friendly Masonic Lebanese and before you could say  ‘I suppose you have  countrymen down the road who claim they can do this better and cheaper’,  (Is that a hand behind your back?) the predictable ”’number”’ was ruthlessly implemented. Ah well! To be honest, it is their loss and a shame because they are good people. **

Voice ability and sweetness apart, I sort of like little Designer Shaik, I think ALL systems in the world should start out  like it, but unfortunately 99.99999% are horrendous and the companies concerned see absolutely nothing wrong.

There are so many deluded instant experts around, oblivious to any standards, but this is life.  I’m nearly at the end of mine, so I really don’t care who I upset, but do think it a shame that it can only get worse because people do take such offence when intimidated.

It is a comment we often get though, with many expressing surprise at the loudness and clarity of our systems when to be honest, at 8 bit, 8 kilohertz, telephone voices should sound like squashed cockroach.   I’ve been experimenting for 25 years to get those secret clarity algorithms and we keep experimenting.  Only the day before I wrote this blog, we were involved in a major network upgrade and the guys working in a major global vendor innocently asked;  ‘How come your systems are so clear under such a hostile compressed environment.  Can you send us your algorithm?’ ‘  Well, take a hike baby if you think that we are ever going to give that away cheap.  And that is the crux.  Sure we could reduce the price just to complete with the peanut monkeys down the road.  Let me think about that for a moment………….  Ok, thought about it……….  NO WAY!



To the point; a time will come when people from distant corners of the world will call the Designer Shaik call centre or main office and will hear exactly the same clarity, loudness and style (albeit VoIP strangled). Try City Bank or HSBC.  It is cobweb sludge, condescending and disgusting, but they don’t care. Most airlines are the same, Emirates and Gulf Air to name a few. Worse still, the ones setting an example such as the telecom companies themselves are worse than all of them except Zain Bahrain and Sudan.  Locally, a lot of the MENA region systems are done in Dubai.   The ego of anything ‘Made in Dubai’ with the arrogance that it is world class is just laughable. Etisalat is appalling, with no consistency or standards anywhere.   Forget the Middle East though, just take a tour of the UK.  My God, even the world wide Ericsson company goes down as probably the worst on the planet.  Outside of the UK or the States, there is some leeway with the false confidence of English as a second language.  Most just don’t hear themselves and thus see/hear nothing wrong, but within the UK or the States, there is no excuse whatsoever.

Nobody can do Arabic like ADmaze Media does Arabic, so don’t even go there.

I don’t bother calling Call Centres these days, because I cannot make out what is being said most of the time, with so many different voices, badly directed and just ‘piss poor’ audio quality, slammed together with no consistency or standards.   Hell, if you come to little old Bahrain, 99% of IVRs or Corporate answer machines have the very same voices on them.  Even major competitors, so callers get totally confused.  I am at a loss as to how company bosses allow their image to be crapped on so easily.   Apart from Zain, call any telecom company for example, it is like a copy paste.  One bank to another.  Crazy!

On top of all that, no account was ever made for VoIP in the production stages. Worst of all, Advertising Agencies YES!!!!!!!!!!! ADVERTISING AGENCIES are being commissioned to establish or sort these systems out as if they were doing the annual audit layout.  Pathetic! My plea to you guys and I do love you really, but stay away from IVRs because you  really do bring this world to its knees with the monkey see – monkey do condescending pap you insist on.  ‘DEAREST CUSTOMER’.  Puke already!  These deluded incompetents hear this ‘shit’ everywhere thus go right ahead and copy it willy nilly. It is as if it is a law or something.  Dear me, ‘City Bank’ even proceeds to tell us exactly where the Hash key is on your ‘mobile’ phone.

Challenge the owners of these very bad IVRs and VoIP systems as I frequently do and they are instantly intimidated as well and many a so called ‘responsible person’ becomes so full of brinkmanship they make statements like;  ‘Hell would freeze over before I would work with that bastard’.  Meaning me of course. Wrong!  Always, go for the best, you will get the kudos as a brilliant indelible manager when the fat lady sings.

Just blame telecoms. There is something to be said for that too, although really, other than setting bad examples initially, it has NOTHING to do with telecoms now, it is the amateur. incompetent, careless dingbats they employ, who possess not a gram of art and look for the very cheapest way to do it and consequently milk it.  In fact, those same dingbats, don’t know the difference anyway, so to quote them our price would scare them witless.  But are they really to blame?  Right at the TOP is to blame for allowing their image to be tarnished so instantly and easily.



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