Saturday, December 10, 2005

Frustration Relief

Yesterday I was on my treadmill watching CNN when I learned about this website. I wondered where it was weeks ago when I needed it.

If you phone any place for customer service, many companies are switching to a Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. You can use your voice to dial different extensions instead of punching in the numbers. I’m like many consumers and want to simply speak to a human—not go through the menu system. Recently I dialed a technology company and had to weave through several levels of “listen carefully to our menu because our options have changed” then “press 1” or “press 2”… When these systems became popular, I almost always pressed “0” then I could reach a person—yet often it doesn’t work. Companies are making it more difficult to reach a human voice.

Paul English has created this site with details on specific companies. Here’s some of his key hints:

  1. “Press 0 (or 0# or #0 or 0* or *0) repeatedly, sometimes quickly, ignoring any “invalid entry” messages.
  2. Just hold, pretending you have only a rotary phone.
  3. Connect to sales; they always seem to answer quickly, then have them transfer you to the department you need.
  4. Say “agent” or “representative.”
  5. Call investor relations or the president’s office. You can usually find this info from Google. :)
  6. When you find a human, ask them how to connect directly the next time, and be sure to tell me :-).

If one of the above does not work, see the IVR Cheat Sheet. (Note that throwing your phone against the wall generally does not work.)”

I understand this tip will not solve everyone’s frustration with the phone but it will help.

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