/ Technology

How do you beat the call centre?

Robot

Calling my broadband provider to cancel should’ve been simple. Yet, after weaving my way through a maze of automated options, I started to think there must be an easier way. How do you beat automated systems?

Working your way through a customer service line can be a painfully lengthy process. Every turn you take seems to lead you deeper into the automated system, with no sight of how many more layers of options lie ahead, and no suggestion of when you’ll get to speak to a real person.

Not only is this process time consuming, but as you may be calling a premium rate number, all the drawn-out options could rack up a hefty phone bill!

How to get through to a human when calling companies

Until quite recently my parents had a phone with a rotary dial. This meant they couldn’t follow the icy commands of the automated robots by ‘pressing 1 for billing options’. Subsequently, by remaining silent, they’d eventually be put through to an adviser. I thought it was worth giving this method a try. Unfortunately my broadband company decided it couldn’t help me if I wouldn’t select an option and the automated voice ended the call rather unapologetically.

And it’s not just a pain when calling telecoms companies. Last year we talked about getting through to a real person when calling your bank and some of you offered up some tips, including Sophie Gilbert:

‘As soon as the robot has started its sentence, I press # repeatedly in order to flummox the system and I get told after a very short time that I have exceeded the number of attempts at entering my card number and that I will be put through to one of the humans.’

I’m sure there are many other ways to get fast-tracked through a call centre line to speak to an adviser. After my attempt at giving them the silent treatment failed, I’m curious as to how effective other methods might be.

So, what are your tried and tested methods to beat automated systems? How do you cut the time of the call and get to an adviser quickly?

If you share your call centre tips, tricks and experiences by Friday 26 April you’ll be entered into our competition to win a 16GB iPad mini! The more creative the comment, the better. We’ll mull over all of the entries and pick our favourite. Good luck!

[UPDATE] – The competition is now closed. Our winner is Louise, who shared her handy tips to beat automated phone systems. An iPad mini is winging its way over to her now!

Which? Conversation iPad mini Competition Terms and Conditions

1. To enter, you must add a comment with your call centre tips, tricks and experiences at http://whi.ch/Yxwy1j Please ensure you use an email address we can contact you on. All comments must be received by midnight Friday 26 April 2013 (the ‘Closing Date’).
2. Employees of Which? Ltd, their families and anyone living in the employee’s household are not eligible to enter.
3. Entry limited to one per person.
4. Our judges will select the best entry from all comments by the Closing Date during the week commencing 29 April 2013 based on what we judge to be the best tips and tricks comment . The winner will then be announced here on www.whichconversation.co.uk. The winner will be contacted by email within 10 days of the name being drawn and the winner must claim their prize within 14 days. Failure to claim by this deadline may result in the prize being forfeited.
5. The prize is a UK 16GB iPad mini with wi-fi at a value of £269. No cash alternative is available. Which? reserves the right to substitute a prize of equivalent value at its absolute discretion.
6. Which? reserves the right to terminate the offer, extend the promotion period or to amend these terms and conditions at any time and for any reason.
7. If the prize is declined or if the winner forfeits the prize under these terms and conditions, then Which? may at its absolute discretion draw an alternative winner.
8. Proof of sending will not be accepted as proof of receipt. Which? takes no responsibility for entries delayed, incomplete or lost due to technical reasons or otherwise.
9. The decision of Which? is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
10. By entering the competition, you will be deemed to have understood these rules and agree to be bound by them.
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Comments
Adrian Danson says:
8 April 2014

Having been delayed nearly 24 hours on return from Cyprus, I read “Which” advice that I was entitled to denied boarding compensation of Euro400, so requested payment of such from Thomas Cook. They disputed my rights, then disputed liability, then claimed it only applied to scheduled airlines, then that they and other airlines were appealing the matter to European Court of Justice, which was rejected by ECJ, they still did not pay. They failed to comply with EU regulations requiring that they advise travellers of their rights in these circumstances, but after I wrote to them for the fifth time they paid the due amount, but only after involving my MP and further time wasting correspondence. It took me 2 years and 8 months, but having faith in “Which” I persevered. My only complaint now is, why do those delayed by 3 hours get the same as those delayed a whole day and why is the distance travelled a criteria, when time lost is the issue?

Mitch says:
22 October 2017

[Sorry, Mitch. Your comment has been removed for breaking our commenting rules by posting promotional content. Please check out our community guidelines for further help on commenting. We’d love to hear more about your views on this, but please avoid promotional reference. Thanks, mods]