Tuesday, February 28, 2006
7 News Features: Live on the Line
For many of us, there's nothing more frustrating than waiting... Especially if you're waiting to talk to a real person on the phone. If you're tired of automated menus and recordings everytime you call a company, there is a way to get someone live on the line. 7's Tom Haynes reveals the secret in tonight's special assignment report.
WSVN--Nothing is more frustrated than dealing with an automated recording when all you want is a real person on the other side of the line.
Well frustration got too much for one man, so he fought back!
Paul English: "All of us find it maddening when you call for service, and the first thing you hear is "your call is important to us." If my call is important, why am I talking to a computer?"
Paul English, a graduate at UMass, decided to turn the tables on these recorded voices and came up with a cheat sheet on how to beat the recording and get to a human.
It's posted on his new website, "GetHuman.com" for free.
Paul English: "Increasingly the emails I get are from customer support reps who work at these companies and they are ratting out their employees."
The most common shortcut is to repeatedly press zero.
Paul English: "Try and interrupt computers, no matter what it says, just hit zero. Because if you confuse the computer 2 or 3 times, in a row, a lot give up and appeals top high authority, a human."
Many times you can say representative, agent or operator.
Paul English: "Even if they don't tell you that's one of the options, they will connect you."
Or try this trick.
Paul English: "Press 2 for Spanish, the Spanish operators are all bilingual that line for the Spanish cue might be really quick they might through to someone instantly."
The popularity of Paul's cheat sheet has some companies sitting up and taking notice.
Citi now makes it easy by just pressing zero and Paul has cracked the code of several other big ones.
For Bank of America, simply press zero, zero.
For American Express press zero repeatedly. And for Verizon DSL, just keep saying agent.
Paul hopes more and more companies will catch on and go with the human touch.
Paul English: "By having a voice and a character and a sense of humor, and direct human contact, it makes you feel good, makes you want to do business with them, makes you want to tell your friends about them."
One thing to keep in mind is many of these companies change their services often, so you may need to check back for the latest shortcut.