Breaking the Touch-Tone Blues: How to Get Through a Live Person

Real Estate Agent with Evers & Co. Real Estate Inc.

Hate those automated voices giving directions to press some number only to find you’ll soon have to press another and never have any real sense you’ll wind up with an actual human? Me, too. Here are some tips from the website to try to get to a live person:

1.    Interrupt the process by pressing 0 (or # or 0# or #0 or * or 0* or *0). Unfortunately the same keystroke interruptions don’t always work at different companies. Repeat poking these keys as necessary, rapidly if needed. Some of those systems will connect to a person after a few "invalid entries,” but some  will hang up.

2.    Interrupt by saying "representative" (or "agent" or "get human").

3.    Raise your voice or mumble. The system might connect you to someone after a keyword or unknown phrases.

4.    Don’t press anything. Just sit quietly. Pretend you have a rotary phone.

5.    Connect to billing or account collections or sales or account cancellation. Companies are usually far more responsive the these options and answer quickly since they want your money and don't want to lose your business

6.    When you get someone, ask them for their name and ID number. (They’ll be more likely to help you when they think you are writing it down.) Then ask to be transferred to the department you need. Occasionally, they’ll put you at the front of the queue, although they are just as likely to send you to the back.

7.    Don’t use the 800-number. Especially for credit cards, if the expected wait time is too long, hang up and call on their non-toll-free number. They often have shorter queues.

8.    Select the Spanish option. You’ll sometimes get a bilingual person more quickly than if you just wait for an English-only operator.

9.    When you finally get human, ask them how could connect them directly the next time in case you get disconnected etc.


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Bill C. Merrell
Merrell Institute ~ Appraisal Education Network - Bohemia, NY
Ph.D. - Merrell Institue

I agree- I much prefer speaking to a live person than a computer.


Jul 21, 2008 10:52 AM #1
Michele Reneau
Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor - Summerville, SC
Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team

Love this. It's so true.  It's terrible how detached the system is now and how impossible it can be sometimes to get through to real live human being. The worst part is that sometimes, I can barely understand their english.

Aug 28, 2008 03:03 PM #2
Ed Schneider
Evers & Co. Real Estate Inc. - Washington, DC
Washington DC Real Estate Specialist

Bill - Thanks for commenting.


Michele - It's a sad state of affairs when companies put as many obstacles in the way of having their customers try to contact them. The worst are the insurance companies.

Aug 29, 2008 01:33 AM #3
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Washington DC Real Estate Specialist
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