Robotic Voice Gets Help Line Staffer Suspended

Health Department wasn't laughing over staffer's robotic help line voice.

—Oct. 31, 2014 -- Ronald Dillon's employer didn't think it was funny that the IT specialist kept answering the customer service phone in a robotic voice.

The case document claimed that Dillon “states in a slow, monotone, and over enunciated manner, ‘You have reached the Help Desk. This is Mr. Dillon. How may I help you?’”

Dillon denied the accusation that he greeted callers to the Help Desk in a robotic voice, saying that he merely read a script he had been given in a “neutral tone.” According to the document:

“He contended that he articulates each word because he speaks fast and has a Brooklyn accent which is sometimes difficult to understand. He further asserted that he uses this tone to eliminate accusations that he treats callers differently… Additionally, he asserted that he is not a ‘people person’ and does not have the special talents and skills that customer service requires.”

Administrative Law Judge Kara Miller, however, described Dillon as a “disgruntled employee” in her Oct. 7 ruling.

“It may be true that [Dillon] is not a ‘people person’ and relatively new to customer service,” Miller wrote in the case document. “But the audio recordings show that respondent is capable of speaking to callers in a normal tone.”

This was not a one-time offense. The Health Department provided five audio recordings of Dillon putting on his best automaton impression between February and April 2013, with other complaints stretching back to October 2012.

Dillon, who has worked for the Health Department since 1976, faces a 20-day suspension without pay with credit for time served.