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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:53 pm 
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IVRs ("interactive voice response") are the annoying computers that answer phones. They can sometimes be useful (check flight status etc), but consumers should be able to decide when they want to speak with a human, simply by pressing 0. For example, what if the consumer is:

- a senior citizen who does not ever want to talk with computers.
- someone hard of hearing or in a noisy environment or on a bad cell phone connection, where communication with a - computer is always more difficult than talking with an actual human.
- someone driving a car who does not want to go back and forth between listening to prompts and pushing buttons.
- someone who knows the IVR system will not help with their current question.

Some IVRs require you first enter your account or social security number. This is also stupid:

- many times after punching in your account number, the human who finally answers asks you to repeat it anyway!
- what if I don't yet have an account number?
- what if I don't have my account number handy?
- what if my question has nothing to do with my account?

While some companies claim that IVR cost savings are required to do customer support, there are some awesome, profitable companies who have figured out that it is a good thing to have humans answering phones.

When companies change their IVRs as a response to the cheat sheet, their employees often tell me the new numbers and codes. :)

Common Cheats to Bypass IVR

Many times you can get to a human simply by one of these methods:

1. Press 0 (or 0# or #0 or 0* or *0) repeatedly, sometimes quickly. Many IVRs will connect to a human after a few "invalid entries", although some IVRs will hangup. :(
2. Say "get human" (or "agent" or "representative") or shout your favorite four letter word. If these are not programmed, the IVR might again connect you to a human after a few of these "invalid entries".
3. Just hold, pretending you have only a rotary phone.
4. Connect to sales; they always seem to answer quickly, then have them transfer you to the department you need.
5. Selecting the option for Spanish will sometimes get you a bilingual human quickly.
6. Search Google for the company name and "customer support" or "phone numbers". Or try "investor relations" or the "president's office".

When you do finally find a human, ask them how to connect directly the next time (in case your call gets disconnnected etc), and be sure to tell me :).

If one of the above does not work, see the IVR Cheat Sheet.

The original cheats here came from me and from Jane Spencer's Wall Street Journal article on 7/16/2003; the other hundreds of entries were submitted by others on the net.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:41 pm 
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Thanks for that. Now I hope I remember what to do when. :scratchhead:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 5:52 pm 
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One addendum to the list...

Just pretending you have a rotary phone doesn't always work eather.
Some IVRs will hang up on you for not making a selection.

Gotta love computers... :lol:

ps. Made this a sticky so I don't lose it. :truce:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 1:29 pm 
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ps. Made this a sticky so I don't lose it.


We who are about to throw in the towel on these irritating IVR's, salute you!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 8:23 pm 
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What, some want to have a phone call answered by an actual human first? What a concept!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:20 pm 
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Ain't modern technology grand? :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:43 pm 
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Of course the person answering the phone only spoke a language you've never before heard. :crying:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:52 am 
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...or they speak in an unintelligible accent. I say this in the nicest of ways. They should employ people whose English is clear and understandable .... Frankly, though the tech people in India often speak excellent English -- I often have to ask them to repeat something.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:09 pm 
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Ilana wrote:
...or they speak in an unintelligible accent. I say this in the nicest of ways. They should employ people whose English is clear and understandable .... Frankly, though the tech people in India often speak excellent English -- I often have to ask them to repeat something.


I just hang up. (and sometimes I remember to say..."Don't call me anymore!" .....I've heard that's suppose to work. :roll:)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:39 pm 
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lswot wrote:
Ilana wrote:
...or they speak in an unintelligible accent. I say this in the nicest of ways. They should employ people whose English is clear and understandable .... Frankly, though the tech people in India often speak excellent English -- I often have to ask them to repeat something.


I just hang up. (and sometimes I remember to say..."Don't call me anymore!" .....I've heard that's suppose to work. :roll:)


Actually, I've been told that you have to say, "please remove this number from your list." Somehow that triggers a flag for the "dare I say it?" computer to kick in and actually delete the number...so I've been told...

And I agree with Ilana, sometimes those accents are hard to understand, and since I "hear" better when I can see the person's lips, it's really difficult. (you should see the frustration I cause in the OR when I ask the surgeon to repeat a request) :twisted:

L'Hawke


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 1:25 pm 
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You should have seen her at the Convention :outtahere:
What I hate are the 'computer' voices.......telling me this or that. :x

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:38 pm 
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[quote="lswot"]You should have seen her at the Convention :outtahere:

who? moi? whaddidIdo???? :beamup:


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:55 pm 
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:angel:

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