Business Answering Machines: "Your Call Is Very Important To Us, Please Hold..."

And they tell you this 500 times while you are waiting.

Sometimes you get the options from hell:
Press one if you want to know the temperature in Bolivia.
Press two if you want to hear about dental flossing.
Press three if you want to learn more about gout.
You can also go on line at for frequently asked questions.

It’s annoying too, when you actually get some phone-hold music that you like but you can’t even enjoy that because every 15 seconds you get that same message. Over and over and over.

Credit for this idea goes to Dave Barry. Don’t press any buttons. None. If you do, they know you’re on a touch-tone phone (as most people are nowadays). Pretend you’re on a rotary phone, and you can get through much faster. I don’t know if this actually works. Somehow, I doubt it.

I just start tapping on the “0” key, usually this gets me into Customer Service pretty quick.
I’m pretty lucky though. I don’t need to deal much with my cable company and my telephone/cell phone issues I can resolve at work from my own desk (since I have access to my own cell phone account, I can call into a backdoor number and fix both accounts :smiley: )

Some auto-answer systems have programmed the 0 to start the menu options over again. Others have been programmed to hang up if no touch-tone selection is made. Regardless, if you’re waiting to get to a person shorting the process doesn’t get you to that person any faster. You still sit in the queue until someone’s available. And if your button mashing or lack of same doesn’t get you to the right department the first time, you’ll just have to be transferred and end up at the back of the line. I’ve worked in a number of call centers and it drove me nuts when people would do the button mashing thing and then get pissed off at me because I couldn’t help them because they needed to speak with another department entirely. Hey pal, not my fault you couldn’t figure out the menu options and definitely not my fault that you “held with them for ten minutes and no one answered so I thought I’d call you.”

I’ve tried this (without the benefit of Dave’s inspiration, unfortunately) on many automated answering systems, and it generally tends to work, but a lot of times it won’t. Sometimes it’s amusing in its inoperability:

"Did you know? Insanely Huge Corporation is now on the web! [woo hoo, the technology!] You can pay your bill, get the answers to common questions, even set up a new account! Just go to <excruciatingly slow speed>h t t p : / / w w w (dot) insanelyhugecorporation (dot) com</ess>. Remember! Insanelyhugecorporation is all one word!

Press 1 for pre-recorded Arcane Answers that no one actually cares about;
Press 2 to tell us how much you love us!;
Press 3 to repeat this menu;"


Are you still there?

[Repeat menu options]

We’re sorry, we didn’t get your response. Are you still there?

Sorry that you’re having difficulty; Goodbye!"

(Redial and press 0 at the menu)

"You have selected an invalid key.

Did you know? Insanely Huge…"

Thwap! (sound of phone hitting wall)

To clarify, the “press nothing and wait” approach works for me in that I get an operator - not that I get an operator quickly. And as **Otto ** says, it’s generally the wrong department that I end up with but I just tell them who I need and they tend to put me in the right place.

On the automenu for a certain Philadelphia newspaper, if you’re calling about home delivery problems and enter your phone number wrong three times, you get swished right to a real, live person!