So I first type in “English + 800-numbers” into the Google search bar and get a whole lot of nonsense. I key in “toll free bypass” and get a couple of lukewarm leads. I decide to get literal with Google, so I punch in “how to get a real human being” into the field. Lo and behold, the first hit is the one I am looking for: IVR Cheat Sheet by Paul English.
Mr. English has deciphered dozens of codes to bypass IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, those annoying and ultimately exhausting computers that answer phone calls to help desks and customer-service lines.
Per custom, simply pressing “0” would lead a consumer to a live person. Lately, pressing “0” means absolutely nothing to the IVR. They just simply drone on and lead a bewildered caller on an endless chase through the Matrix-like customer service purgatory.
Companies are spending millions of dollars on these systems, unwittingly wasting millions more. Simply put, customers and consumers absolutely hate IVR. We want to talk to real people.
Enter Paul English. He’s published the codes to hundreds of Fortune 500 companies’ IVR lines. While many still use “0” to get a human voice on the line, other companies are much more cryptic.
Western Union is:* then ##. Verizon Wireless it’s: #00 or enter phone # then 0 then 4. For AT&T, English’s entry is: “No Easy Escape.”
For Dell Service, you would punch in: option 1, xt 7266966, option 1, option 4, option 4.
Dell Service!!!! The company that sells computers OVER THE PHONE!!!!! The mere notion that they could hide a human being at the end of all this rigamarole is almost insulting.
Like Ralph Nader writes: “In the old Soviet Union, shoppers stood in long lines hoping the shelves would not be empty before they reached the counter. In our country, tens of millions of Americans are told to press a bewildering variety of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. for several tiers sometimes, then be put on hold, waiting, waiting, waiting.”
It’s amazing that companies continue to try and get away with cutting corners and spoiling the consumer experience. They should know better. We are overly-connected. The system can be cracked. And in the process…ridiculed.
There is a certain amount of dark comedy at play here. Millions — if not billions — of dollars spent by companies on systems designed to shun, lock out and ignore human interaction are wasted because one human being — Paul English — decides to crack and publish the codes.
So simple. Yet so utterly ground-breaking.