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Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Old Dec 7th 2005, 8:53 pm
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Default Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Just saw this on my local news...

http://www.paulenglish.com/ivr/

We've all been there: You have to call Company X about something, but instead of getting a human being to talk to, you have to navigate Company X's automated phone system first. If you're lucky, you'll find the right series of numbers to push to take you to a live operator. But more often than not, you probably never reach the magic combination, causing you to hang up and try again until you do.

Well, this guy got so annoyed with this that, through trial-and-error, figured out how to bypass these automated phone systems (called Interactive Voice Response, or IVR) to about 100 companies.

You can also read this Kiplinger's article about it.

He even has how to get through to someone at the 1-800 Misinformation line, although he has it listed under "INS" not "USCIS". I submitted an update request; we'll see if he changes it!

BTW, as someone who works in a credit card call center, I can tell you that nearly all of my colleagues HATE the automated system. People call because they're concerned about something, and when they can't get through to a live person it just pisses them off more -- anger they then take out on us. Our particular system does not give them an obvious option like "press 0 to speak to an customer service representative" which just aggravates the situation for everyone. We sympathize with you callers more than you know.

~ Jenney
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Old Dec 7th 2005, 9:11 pm
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Originally Posted by Jenney & Mark
Just saw this on my local news...

http://www.paulenglish.com/ivr/

..........We sympathize with you callers more than you know.

~ Jenney

Well, someone (I believe it was Ray) posted the same info, purporting to come fromthe same site, a few days ago.

funny thing is that some of the instructions seem to be different...
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Old Dec 7th 2005, 9:20 pm
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Some lead ..others follow ... the site is continually being updated ..
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Old Dec 7th 2005, 10:00 pm
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

with the voice- controlled automated systems, you can usually just keep saying "operator" until it passes you over
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Old Dec 7th 2005, 10:01 pm
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Originally Posted by cutina
with the voice- controlled automated systems, you can usually just keep saying "operator" until it passes you over
p.s. Happy birthday!
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Old Dec 7th 2005, 10:12 pm
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Originally Posted by Elvira
Well, someone (I believe it was Ray) posted the same info, purporting to come fromthe same site, a few days ago.

funny thing is that some of the instructions seem to be different...
Sorry about that... I didn't see Ray's post.

~ Jenney
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Old Dec 7th 2005, 10:12 pm
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Originally Posted by cutina
p.s. Happy birthday!
Thanks!

~ Jenney
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Old Dec 7th 2005, 10:31 pm
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Originally Posted by Jenney & Mark
BTW, as someone who works in a credit card call center, I can tell you that nearly all of my colleagues HATE the automated system. People call because they're concerned about something, and when they can't get through to a live person it just pisses them off more -- anger they then take out on us. Our particular system does not give them an obvious option like "press 0 to speak to an customer service representative" which just aggravates the situation for everyone. We sympathize with you callers more than you know.
Funny that, it was the complete opposite with the missus, in her last department, all everyone wants was the automated system...but then again it was activations, balance enquiry and transfers...kind of similar with tax...but now, she's dealing with even more stupid people, but least it's internet stupid related....

though best one was when someone thought that minimum payment meant the balance was reset and that it was just a monthly fee and got all miffed when the card was denied...come to find out she had hit her limit and paying the minimum of $15 a month didn't really help and she was now $15K in the hole *l*
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Old Dec 8th 2005, 12:27 am
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Originally Posted by Bob
Funny that, it was the complete opposite with the missus, in her last department, all everyone wants was the automated system...but then again it was activations, balance enquiry and transfers...kind of similar with tax...but now, she's dealing with even more stupid people, but least it's internet stupid related....
For simple things like activation calls, automated is the way to go. But I honestly believe that every company's automated system should have an obvious option for how to reach a live person. Sometimes issues can be very complicated and there simply isn't a phone menu option for it. Those people should always have a "way out" to help prevent the call from escalating unnecessarily.

though best one was when someone thought that minimum payment meant the balance was reset and that it was just a monthly fee and got all miffed when the card was denied...come to find out she had hit her limit and paying the minimum of $15 a month didn't really help and she was now $15K in the hole *l*
I've had customers like that, too. It's more common than people think -- scary, hey?

I remember one call I received from a customer who was asking how her balance had gotten so high. Her credit limit was $250 and her balance was about $300 or so. She was totally confused because she said she only used the card once, for a $75 purchase, five months earlier (when the account opened) -- where did the rest of the balance come from??

I had to explain that in addition to her $75 purchase, she had a $50 membership fee, plus a $29 fee for each month no payment was made (which was EVERY month), plus a $29 overlimit fee when the account eventually exceeded $250, plus accrued interest for carrying a balance. I verified her address and asked if she had been receiving her statements. She said, "Yeah, but I didn't look at them because I knew I'd only bought one thing for $75." She ACTUALLY thought she could just charge to the credit card and just pay it back when she wanted to!!

It is getting calls like these that cause my colleagues and I to constantly say that there should be a test people have to pass before they can be approved for credit cards.

~ Jenney
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Old Dec 8th 2005, 1:19 am
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Originally Posted by cutina
with the voice- controlled automated systems, you can usually just keep saying "operator" until it passes you over
Or you can try 'Advisor' or 'Representative'. Sometimes you just have to try different variations of the title of the operator.
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Old Dec 8th 2005, 1:19 am
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Originally Posted by cutina
p.s. Happy birthday!
Here here!
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Old Dec 8th 2005, 1:26 am
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

My job involves calling insurance companies & getting run downs of peoples insurance. I try to get as much info from the phone system & internet sites, but most of the time I have to speak to a real person. So I've started to make my own little list of how to get to a real person for all the insurance companies & it does save me a lot of time. I would pass this along to the owner of the website, but the numbers I use are for providers & not the customer, so it wouldn't really help anyone else.
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Old Dec 8th 2005, 2:10 am
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Originally Posted by Jenney & Mark
For simple things like activation calls, automated is the way to go. But I honestly believe that every company's automated system should have an obvious option for how to reach a live person.

~ Jenney
Great idea - though most people calling into these type of centres are too lazy to press buttons and would take the option to wait in a q (sometimes longer than it takes to button press your requests).

Ant
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Old Dec 8th 2005, 12:33 pm
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Originally Posted by antjen
Great idea - though most people calling into these type of centres are too lazy to press buttons and would take the option to wait in a q (sometimes longer than it takes to button press your requests).

Ant
Well, this also brings up the flip side of the issue: People who are routed to a live person when it's unnecessary.

Our company does that for a lot of activation calls, for instance, because that's a chance we can try to sell them something (account protection, balance transfer, etc.). Even customers who are just calling to check their balance -- a no-brainer for the automated system -- will be bumped over to someone for the same reason. These customers are annoyed because they're calling just to do something quickly and suddenly have to talk to a person unexpectedly -- and for activation calls, that includes having to do extra verification.

But then there are customers who are calling about a matter which obviously requires speaking to someone -- such as discovering that their $100 payment was accidentally processed as $1000 -- but there's no phone option to get them to Payment Investigations. It's ridiculous.

~ Jenney
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Old Dec 8th 2005, 2:58 pm
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Default Re: Hate automated phone systems? Try this!

Its pretty hard to tell the difference between an operator and a recorded message
Every time I call they have some script where they try you sell you some crap you dont need, and have you ever tried to cancel a card and close an account?? Thats where I need an automated system
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