I don't care how polite your tone may be, calling me back two minutes after I've transferred your call and saying "OK, now may I speak to a human being?" is going to annoy me.
Do you honestly think that I purposely transferred you to a line that I knew would not be answered and would therefore go to voicemail? Because I didn't. If I had my way, every person in this office would be chained to their desks the way I am chained to mine, so that no one would ever need to leave a message or call me back and complain that "no one ever answers the phone in this office".
I sit in the lobby. In the middle of the building. And I can see the desk of not one other person who works here from where I am. I have NO WAY of knowing who is in his or her office or on another phone call at any given time. Much of the time, I don't even know who is in the building. There are doors OTHER than the front door. People use them ALL THE TIME to go in and out. They DO NOT tell me when they arrive and they DO NOT tell me when they are going to lunch and they DO NOT tell me when they are leaving for the day. 95% of the time, I don't even know that someone has gone on vacation. So don't snap at me when you get the voicemail recording telling you that the person you're trying to reach is out of the office until next week. I didn't know that and I DID NOT transfer you there on purpose to annoy you. ALSO, they are not on vacation just to make your life more difficult. Get over yourself and life will be a whole lot more pleasant for all of us.
And I KNOW that you hate talking to a machine, but REALLY and TRULY that is the only way to be sure that your message will get passed on. I do not take messages for the employees here for a few good reasons. I do not see everyone on a regular basis. There are many people who work here, and I do not know them all, so I may well not even recognize the person for whom the message is intended in order to pass it along. I do not know the specifics of their work, so the terms and phrases that they need to hear are not going to make sense to me. I'll probably pass the message along incorrectly. Also, and probably least importantly, IT'S NOT MY JOB. My job is to transfer your call to the person you need. If they are not there, it's nothing to do with me.
And when you call and start to tell me your problem or ask me your question, that's perfectly right. I need to have an idea of why you're calling so that I can know where to direct you. But once I have said that I will transfer you to someone that can help you, that is your cue to stop talking. If I could answer your question, I would do so. As I've said that I will redirect you, I clearly don't have the knowledge you need. Please don't say "But let me just ask you this . . . " or "But it's just a simple question . . ." That will make me roll my eyes and I will probably address you through clenched teeth through the rest of the call. If you do insist on asking me your question or explaining your situation after I've already offered to transfer you to the right department, do not act annoyed when you have to repeat it all for the person who actually understands what you are talking about. You brought it on yourself, so quit your aggravated sighing.
I'm sure I could continue, but I'm tired of this now.