Unless you’ve been living in the wild for the past 5 years or have given up all of your modern conveniences - your: phone service, Internet provider, credit cards - you have had to contact one of these types of companies. And in all probability, you are more than familiar with the new generation of Automated Customer Service (ACS) systems in use by ALL of these corporate giants
You know the ones. Gone are the days when a simple “1” or “2” would navigate the depths of the system and eventually land a conversation with a living, breathing human being. Modern-day systems accept and process more information than ever, and buttons are no longer the sole means of “entering” requested information. Enter the world of advanced speech recognition.
Over the years, and through much frustration, I’ve developed four effective techniques to salvage my sanity and beat the system at its own game – and they work 95% of the time.
Tip 1: Disguise your native tongue.
Bottom Line: When you’re asked to press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, press 2. “But I don’t speak Spanish!” - irrelevant. The Spanish-speaking CSRs are required to speak both Spanish AND English, and you get through almost immediately. Simply begin your conversation in English once the rep answers.
Tip 2: Speak gibberish to the computer.
Bottom Line: When the system asks you to “Summarize your problem” or “Ask your question so I can best assist you”, belt out a line from your favorite Bee Gees song, say “My name is Rumplestiltskin” or deliver your best knock-knock joke. You are guaranteed not to be recognized, and the system will default back to a ‘panic’ mode that will REQUIRE a live human being to figure out what you’re actually trying to do. You’re in.
Tip 3: Press 0 even when it’s not a choice
Bottom Line: When given a set of choices (press 1, 2 or 3) just press 0. Many systems are set up to include 0 as a “bail out” command, which connects you to a human being.
Note: This failsafe has been removed on some of the more advanced systems (they caught on) but is a simple technique to try right off the bat.
Tip 4: Blow into the phone
Bottom Line: With the advent and popularity of cell phone use in cars, outdoors, in ghastly weather etc., systems are designed to reject speech input and default to a representative if a bad connection is present. Blowing into the phone emulates strong winds, and you’ll be connected to a human being to sort out your choppy speech patterns or connectivity issues.
So there you have it, my top four – and they’re good as gold. The next time you feel like SMASHing your receiver because the system didn’t properly detect the sixth digit of your telephone number, pause instead. Then, the second time around simply utter, “I’m bringing sexy back”.