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Map Out Of Hell
November 25, 2005 6:25 PM   Subscribe

Fed up with navigating badly set up voice mail systems, Paul English has posted a voice mail cheat sheet to help you cut through to a real human. Which is just as well because most companies seem to set up their voice mail systems like this.
posted by Zinger (19 comments total)

 
"To pay your bill, press 1 now. To check your credit, press 2 now. To bypass all this computer-operated crap and speak to a real live human being press #0#0#0#0 now" /fark
posted by adzm at 6:26 PM on November 25, 2005


T-mobile uses a voice recognition system which is even more annoying.

You can at least be sure with a button system that when you press the button it actually will take you to the appropriate menu option.

With voice recognition, you're lucky if it understands you half the time. The genius that decided this was a perfect way to interface with mobile phone customers should win some kind of prize.
posted by empath at 6:33 PM on November 25, 2005


Someone watches ABC World News Tonight With The Late Peter Jennings.
posted by cillit bang at 6:36 PM on November 25, 2005


The genius that decided this was a perfect way to interface with mobile phone customers should win some kind of prize.

"To report reception or transmission quality problems, say 'reception.'"

"ReFFFFTtionZZZZT"

"Thank you for selecting our special service bundle for platinum users. An extra $352.00 will be added to your bill monthly."
posted by Zinger at 6:40 PM on November 25, 2005


Fark, Slashdot, and wasn't this on 60 Minutes last Sunday?
posted by intermod at 6:40 PM on November 25, 2005


my girlfriend was just reading this to me from people magazine. what a masshole.
posted by Busithoth at 6:42 PM on November 25, 2005


Yeah, I heard an interview with this guy on Marketplace on NPR. Most amusing. Kye Risdall (sp?) asked if companies changed their systems once they knew they were on the cheat sheet. Apparently they do, but he sometimes has guys on the inside for most companies who let him update the sheet.

Is there anyone who actually LIKES connecting to voice mail instead of a human? Think about it..
posted by TheStorm at 6:47 PM on November 25, 2005


Even if this is old news, I'm glad it was posted. I heard the Marketplace interview and thought "I must remember this so I can print out the cheat sheet" and promptly forgot the guy's name.

Now I have a cheatsheet pinned up next to my phone.
posted by MiHail at 7:06 PM on November 25, 2005


Also, I think the best point was made in the Guardian interview: Why piss off your customers to save a few pennies? Inevitably the customer will be so mad they'll go to your competitor.

I wonder if the response from corporations will be to tell you to "listen carefully, as menu options have changed."
posted by MiHail at 7:10 PM on November 25, 2005


There are very few things more hypocritical and annoying than a recorded voice telling me over and over how important my call is.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:25 PM on November 25, 2005


"Hi! Welcome to Cici's!!!!!"

Now THAT's annoying.
posted by MiHail at 8:08 PM on November 25, 2005


Inevitably the customer will be so mad they'll go to your competitor.

...who's doing the exact same thing.
posted by eriko at 8:39 PM on November 25, 2005


Actually, this is a double.
posted by kenko at 9:01 PM on November 25, 2005


This used to be hosted at, if I remember correctly, some quickbase site? I always found it by typing find-a-human into google. It was the first result. It also included many more entries than this list does, and let you add your own.
posted by odinsdream at 10:57 PM on November 25, 2005


This is awesome.

And, what weaponsgradpandmonium said.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:57 AM on November 26, 2005


Someone needs to create a bookmarklet for this!
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:02 AM on November 26, 2005


I find mashing zero a dozen or so times, or relatedly, screaming obscenities into the voice recog systems works well for me. I think they have a "oh crap pissed off guy coming" computer response built in.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 4:21 PM on November 26, 2005


I wish they had this for Australian corporations too. I exit the room when my partner is calling any company, as he uses the same techniques that BrodieShadeTree does: mashing the keypad or screaming obscenities. He usually starts out calm and collected, saying "operator" or something similar, but for some reason voice recognition systems have yet to identify anything that he's requesting. After about two attempts his requests usually turn into a swearing match with the phone.

What I like is that Telstra (our local telco) started using voice recognition software for directory assistance, which means you spend 2 minutes arguing with the computer when they don't understand the name you're asking for, and -then- putting you through to an operator.
posted by chronic sublime at 5:25 PM on November 26, 2005


BTW, if you ever find yourself stuck in one of those "speak your preference" audio brochures, always try "representative" if you want to speak with a human. What country that human is in is anybody's guess, but often times the option to speak with someone is conveniently left out. YMMV
posted by terrapin at 9:05 AM on November 30, 2005


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