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Getting past automated phone systems


<b><font size=2>In Memoriam - Loyal Administrator<
You know the feeling. You call a company and it is almost impossible to talk to a real person. You deal with automation answering one question after another and pushing button after button. This can go on and on and on for what seems to be forever.

Companies use these automated systems because it costs them less, but consumers are often frusted by them.

There is a new website that is trying to help consumers deal with this problem and making it easier for them to reach a real live person faster. The site is free and is run by volunteers.

The site has a list of the best and worst companies based on how long it takes to reach a real person and the quality of the service received.

It has a database of hundreds of tricks to reach a live operator. It has a very large list of companies.

Many people have found they have been able to greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to reach a real person as a result of information obtained from this site.

Here is a list of just some of the tips at the site:

1. Interrupt. Press 0 (or 0# or #0 or 0* or *0) repeatedly, sometimes quickly. Unfortunately the same keystroke does not always work for each company. Many interactive voice response systems will connect to a human after a few "invalid entries", although some IVRs will hang-up.

2. Talk. Say "get human" (or "agent" or "representative") or raise your voice, or just mumble. The IVR might connect you to a human after one of these key or unknown phrases.

3. Just hold, pretending you have only an old rotary phone.

4. Connect to account collections or sales or account cancellation; they always seem to answer quickly. First ask them for their name and rep number (so they know you are writing it down, and thus so they are more likely to help you.) Then ask them to transfer you to the department you need. Sometimes they will put you ahead of the queue, although sometimes they will send you to the end (and thus in those cases this tip is useless).

5. Toll call. For credit cards, if the expected wait time is too long, hang-up and try to call back on their non-toll-free number, as they often have shorter queues.

6. Selecting the option for Spanish will sometimes get you a bilingual human more quickly than if you just waited for an English-only operator.

When you do finally find a human, ask them how to connect directly the next time (in case your call gets disconnected, etc.)

There is plenty of information at the website that you might find useful. The name of the site is Get Human, and here is a link to them