Getting a human on an automated line

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Very few things are as annoying as wading through a number of automated menus looking for the right part of a megaglobalcorp to speak to - especially if you have an unusual request to make and know it's going to require actually speaking to someone to sort it out.

This is a subject many people have written about before, but I've had a couple of experiences recently that made me realise a compilation of known techniques might be useful. So, here they are:

  1. In the UK there websites that list known landline numbers to companies. The biggest is Say no to 0870 and, in addition to avoiding 08 number fees this should get you through to a human.
  2. I recently got so annoyed on one of these lines I shouted "get me a f&*^ing human" out of sheer frustration. I was then immediately connected to an operator. It turns out that swearing and stress level monitors are common, so as long as you're not in an open plan office, this is worth a try.
  3. Finally entering your initial login / account number, date of birth information incorectly can often shortcut you to an operator. This worked most pleasingly on VanCity's shockingly poor Reloadable visa card customer services line, where I would otherwise have been charged one dollar for connection. Win-win.


  • “Hmm. Despite it probably being an urban myth, I still find that pressing the asterisk key on the phone three times bypasses the systems and gets you to an operator.”

    About this comment

    Posted by Anonymous Dave @ Monday, 28 March, 2011  

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