The answer, as far as reaching a customer service rep by phone, for many companies, is Maybe. If you want it bad enough. While we use the Internet for many tasks precisely to avoid interacting with a human, there are times, usually when we are frustrated, flummoxed, and/or irate, when only a voice on the other end will do.
Usually keen to the fact that when the phone rings, its often a frustrated, flummoxed and/or irate customer, who has exhausted all other options in trying to get their question answered or issue resolved, an unfair amount of companies make the process of getting to a human difficult, if not near impossible.
While nothing works all the time, there are counter-tactics you can employ to jump the queue and talk with a person. These tips come from GetHuman.com, Agoosa.com, eHow.com, and my own experimentations over the years.
- Habla espanol. Pressing the option for Spanish sometimes gets you connected more quickly, to a bilingual agent. Then speak English! Or Spanish! Just speak! Once you have him, never let him go.
- Pretend youre the last person in the world with a rotary phone. Its amazing that some companies still list this as an option, but if you dont press ANY options, theres a decent chance youll get connected to an operator.
- Speak gibberish. Or mumble. Or speak in a whisper. Voicemail systems will never tell you that you need diction lessons. Instead, they will apologize and connect you with an operator. Where you can break out the Kings English.
- Pretend you want to give them money. If you press the option to make a payment chances are youll become an instant VIP and have your call answered quickly. Then employ the ol bait-and-switch and voice your issue instead.
- Be a robot yourself. Just keep saying agent or representative over again until the system either hangs up on you or puts you through.
- Plan for future angst. When you finally are talking with a person, ask them for a direct number in case youre disconnected. Then use it for all future grievances.
- Call for directory assistance. Ok, dont actually call for it. Go to sites such as gethuman.com or nophonetrees.com, where they list company numbers that connect (hopefully) to a live one.
- O solo mio. Only press O no matter what youre instructed to press. Sometimes youll get an operator, sometimes youll get disconnected. We say its worth taking that chance.
- Call the 800 #. Or Dont. One site suggests you call the toll-free number because if the call is on the companys dime, theyll answer faster. Another site says the non-toll free number has a shorter wait time simply because fewer people use it. We report, you decide.
- &%^$ the bastards! The folks at agoosa.com swear (no pun intended) that swearing sometimes gets you bumped up, because the voice-mail system can detect your anger and the company wants to make nice before you go down there and personally pay them a visit.