If there is one thing more vile than unwanted spam, it is the automated phone menu trees one is forced to navigate to deal with so called “customer service”. The ever so helpful Lifehacker provided a suggestion for How to get through to an Operator at Comcast:

After you finish dialing and you hear that first audio prompt (usually “Press 1 for English, 2 para Espanol”), stop. Don’t press anything. Stay quiet and keep your fingers away from the keypad. In order to provide customer service for those with (archaic) rotary phones, the system automatically connects you to an operator (usually a customer service specialist) after failing to detect a touchtone response.

Filed away in some lost neural pathway, it sparked me today on trying to ask a specific question about my home mortgage to Chase. I was in the dead end about 7 button presses deep, it offered me three choices, none of which were appropriate, and none of which offered a connection to a human.

I pressed Zero.

I am sorry, that is not a valid response. Press 1 to blah blah blah….

So I thought about the Lifehacker idea above, and did nothing. Waited.

I am sorry, but you have not entered a response. Press 1 to blah blah blah….

Okay.. just wait… just wait… and then

I am sorry, but you have not entered a response. Press 1 to blah blah blah….

Oi! Will this work?… wait a minute, a tone change and..

Please wait while we connect you to an operator.

And it did! A person came on and in less time I spent pushing buttons had answered my question. Sometimes, indeed, you can get action by taking no action. Try passive aggression on the phone tree.

The post "Thanks Lifehacker! Getting Out of Dante’s Descent of Phone Trees" was originally pushed out of the bottom of a purple jar of Play-Doh at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2005/08/phone-hell/) on August 22, 2005.

Comments are closed.