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View Full Version : How to get a human on the phone...


terrie
08-23-2005, 11:15 AM
Saw a report on the news last night about trying to get a human being when using an interactive phone system and they talked about this page (https://www.quickbase.com/db/bam6rdiey?a=q&qid=5) which is for the US...not sure if something like this is available outside the US...

Terrie

Andrew B.
08-23-2005, 04:33 PM
Thanks for posting. I'm sure I'll be able to put this to use.

Anne Wright
08-23-2005, 05:46 PM
Terrie, Now that is great! AT&T Long Distance used to be one of the worst for finding a human through their "customer service" menu. I used to call their sales office and harrass them into transferring me to a human in the customer service department. Each time I would explaing that I had tried the correct number, my problem was not in their menu and there was no way to reach a human through their menu.
I don't know if they've changed. When Sprint offered me broadband at a discount if I bought my long distance, local and DISH Network as a block, I went for it!
Anne

Molly/CA
08-23-2005, 07:03 PM
Did you notice that Compuserve isn't on the list --perhaps there are no humans left there?

Franca
08-23-2005, 09:30 PM
Did you notice that Compuserve isn't on the list --perhaps there are no humans left there?First company I looked for....

Hugh Wyn Griffith
08-24-2005, 01:35 PM
Thanks -- very nice. I've bookmarked it for my wife the tele specialist with people!

terrie
08-24-2005, 02:07 PM
Glad everyone found it useful...

Terrie

Susie
08-24-2005, 06:23 PM
That's good to know. Yesterday I tried to get hold of people at AFLAC where I have a couple of supplemental policies. The first time, I must have punched this button and that 10 times, never getting a human. And they ask you to put in your birthday in 00/00/0000 format. I did that numerous times and they keep telling me that they don't recognize my birthdate. Obviously I was born at the wrong time!

What ever happened to talking to real humans???

curveto
08-25-2005, 04:11 PM
That's good to know. Yesterday I tried to get hold of people at AFLAC where I have a couple of supplemental policies. The first time, I must have punched this button and that 10 times, never getting a human. And they ask you to put in your birthday in 00/00/0000 format. I did that numerous times and they keep telling me that they don't recognize my birthdate. Obviously I was born at the wrong time!

What ever happened to talking to real humans???
The Walmart mentality. That's what.

JR

ktinkel
08-25-2005, 04:50 PM
The Walmart mentality. That's what.Oh, JR — that is so depressing!

curveto
08-25-2005, 05:56 PM
Oh, JR — that is so depressing!
The only way to kill the phone-bot (if it can be killed) is to a) make it's performance reports a true reflection of how one feels about dealing with said 'bot and b) stop buying from the 'bot's owner. You do A by bailing early (i.e., at the first "i'm starting to get pissed" inflection point). Don't be patient with the machine. ...corporate or otherwise.

Corporations I refuse absolutely refuse to do business with include:

USAA (because of the human's not the bots)
Walmart (not for the reasons one would think, although close)
...and a number of TV broadcasters who said "if you don't like X you can always change the channel" (I changed it to "menu->setup->lockout" ... turns out to be a really good choice, btw).

...and any Corp who knowingly/willingly ships my private data offshore (hopeless as that may be) where there are no laws governing it's use/spread(it will stay inside our corp's databases/intranet ... yeah right).

The USAA story sums up like this...

15 years of claims free, all vehicles, heavy limits, high deductables insurance (this son of DDS firmly believes that insurance should be for things one can't pay for not a discount buyers club), banking and multiple large credit lines too (net to USAA > 105k by my estimates)
My first claim...
Some kid racer sets me atop a Jersey barrier totaling my LX470 ... thankfully he didn't kill anyone
No diminished value legal precedence in Washington
USAA wasn't about to set a mark
Layers of talk
Layers of managers and escalation
Won't total my (totaled) car (want to spend $24k fixing my $40k car)
Work specification goes like this ... REMOVE the body from frame, move the entire drivetrain to *new* frame (12,000 part, that), re-affix body, do a bunch of cosmetic body work
Uhhhhhh no. (my reaction)
I negotiate.
I politely begin to fume.
I compare $4k (the delta between the salvage, at fault recovery, etc. and what they were willing to "pay") against the potential revenue to be gained from N many more years of claims free subscription by this (presumably happy) AAA client.
Four thousand dollars. (less than an espresso)
Called another insurance pro to say, "am I crazy? here's my math..."
"4K?!?" he says. (and polite words to the effect of "are they stoned?")
Bottom line ... the multiple layers of USAA phone jockeys and phone jockey managers didn't pass Business Analysis 101
So I forced their hand.
They were not happy ("You've elected to salavage your own car," they said? "Why, yes." "I have." "You can't do that," they said. "I own it, don't I?" "I can do whatever I please with it.").
So I walked away from $4k.
My new insurance provider is a human being (getting back to that disconnected phone thing).
We have a *human* relationship.
I like him.
I think he likes me (us, actually).
...but I'm wandering...
Then I cancelled EVERYTHING USAA. FOREVER.
USAA Bank was not happy.
To bad.
So sad.
Want a shoulder to cry on?
...talk to your insurance division.
The courts actually made the perp compensate me for the $4k (after they convicted him of wreckless).
...so, when all was said and done, turns out USAA wouldn't have lost a *single* penny.
But they lost MY business. FOREVER (can you tell I'm still pissed at them?)

I WILL NEVER NEVER EVER EVER DO BUSINESS WITH USAA AGAIN. PERIOD. ...and it would make my day if any one of you would join me. B)

ktinkel
08-25-2005, 06:16 PM
I WILL NEVER NEVER EVER EVER DO BUSINESS WITH USAA AGAIN. PERIOD. ...and it would make my day if any one of you would join me. B)Errrr … I might.

If I knew who the heck USAA is! <g>

I agree with you on phone ’bots, though. If the phone rings and is silent when I pick it up, I hang up. If some stranger asks me how I am, I either say nothing or “None of your business,” depending on my mood. If I somehow am inveigled into a converstation with a cold caller, I say that I never discuss {whatever} business on the phone and that they should write me a letter.

Life is much, much too short to deal with people whose business plan is random phone calls. I try to avoid all of them.

Is that what you were saying? <g>

curveto
08-25-2005, 06:24 PM
> I agree with you on phone ’bots, though.

I was thinking of the ones (phone 'bots) you call not the ones that call you, but...

JR

curveto
08-25-2005, 06:26 PM
> I agree with you on phone ’bots, though.

I prefer to think of it as rambling. If you want to use fancy words like "saying" go right ahead. <hehehe/>

curveto
08-25-2005, 06:28 PM
DoOHH!

It helps if one copies before pasting (and proofs before posting).

(quote was supposed to be)

> Is that what you were saying? <g>

curveto
08-25-2005, 06:30 PM
> If I knew who the heck USAA is! <g>

They have a special list for "those Berkeley long-hairs." <g>

Susie
08-25-2005, 07:53 PM
The Walmart mentality. That's what.

JR

LOL! I should have known!

Susie
08-25-2005, 07:57 PM
I WILL NEVER NEVER EVER EVER DO BUSINESS WITH USAA AGAIN. PERIOD. ...and it would make my day if any one of you would join me. B)

Ah, come on, tell us how you really feel! Don't hold back...

Anne Wright
08-25-2005, 08:03 PM
If some stranger asks me how I am, I either say nothing or “None of your business,” depending on my mood.
I usually say, in a very perky voice, "What are you selling?" Usually they hang up immediately. At the very least, it throws off their spiel.
Anne

annc
08-25-2005, 08:18 PM
I usually say, in a very perky voice, "What are you selling?" Usually they hang up immediately. At the very least, it throws off their spiel.If I've been interrupted at a bad moment, I will sometimes tell them that as they don't know me, they don't care how I am, and why don't they save their time and mine by just telling me what they want to sell me.

If they don't tell me who they're ringing for before they ask me how I am, I tell them it's extremely bad manners not to identify themselves when they ring up. When they then tell me who they are, I tell them I don't want to talk to them and then hang up.

Just a little while ago, my mobile phone rang. I was expecting a call from the vet at the clinic where my very sick dog is currently on a drip, so you can imagine how impressed I was when the caller mumbled something about wanting to send me something. Thinking that it would be quicker to agree than to argue, I got to the second part of the address, which is the name of the town, and he asked me how to spell it.

Me: 'You're not from Queensland, are you?'
Him: 'We're in Brisbane'.
Me: 'No you're not, you're in India'.

Then I hit the red button.

Franca
08-25-2005, 08:37 PM
I was expecting a call from the vet at the clinic where my very sick dog is currently on a dripOh, no, I'm so sorry, Ann - is she going to be OK? What is wrong?

annc
08-25-2005, 09:17 PM
Oh, no, I'm so sorry, Ann - is she going to be OK? What is wrong?It's a recurrence of the haemorrhagic colitis she had last year, Franca. I'm kicking myself about it, because I gave her some Eukanuba low-fat biscuits that I thought would be OK (they were a freebie reward for buying our nth bag of 12 kg Eukanuba Light) because they were in a box the same colour pink as the Eukanuba Light. In fact, the veterinary nurse assured me, when I rang this morning, that they were the same formula as the Eukanuba Light. But it seems they aren't. I should have done a comparison before feeding her any, I suppose.

Anyway, the vet did ring back, and says that we got her before it had gone too far, and it seems I can pick her up at 5 this afternoon. But she was one sick puppy by the time I got her to the vet. I had to wave the car keys at her to encourage her to come outside, whereas she usually rushes out the back door as soon as I pull the curtains on the front door, yipping with excitement as she does three laps of the back yard in anticipation of a trip in the car.

ElyseC
08-26-2005, 05:42 AM
Poor Caddie! Please give her an extra pat for me.

ktinkel
08-26-2005, 08:48 AM
I usually say, in a very perky voice, "What are you selling?" Usually they hang up immediately. At the very least, it throws off their spiel.I am rarely perky, but I do sometimes interrupt to ask if they are selling something. At that, they often lie, and say something about this being a “courtesy call” — to make sure I know about something they are selling! At which point I hang up.

But interruptions of any sort do a lovely job of throwing off the spiel, and when I am in the mood, I play with them for a minute before hanging up.

All courtesy is off for uninvited callers who want to sell me something.

ktinkel
08-26-2005, 08:50 AM
It's a recurrence of the haemorrhagic colitis she had last year …Sorry. Poor Caddie. (Poor you!)

Glad she snapped back.

terrie
08-26-2005, 11:38 AM
>>curveto: I WILL NEVER NEVER EVER EVER DO BUSINESS WITH USAA AGAIN. PERIOD. ...and it would make my day if any one of you would join me. B)

I've been considering it becuase of their inability to deal with me via email (I'm hearing impaired and the phone is just a pita)...my sister dropped them after their poor support after her house was broken into...

Terrie

terrie
08-26-2005, 11:48 AM
>>kt: If I knew who the heck USAA is! <g>

It's an insurance company that one needed to be in the military (or a dependent like me) to be able to get policies. USAA is actually rated as one of the better insurance companies in the US but my experience (and my sister's) has not borne that out...

Terrie

terrie
08-26-2005, 11:48 AM
Hope Caddie makes a quick recovery!

Terrie

Hugh Wyn Griffith
08-26-2005, 02:13 PM
Sounds like my car insurance company a few years ago that took me through miles of menus and sub-menus and then said "To talk to an operator, press 0" -- and when I did came back with "That is not a valid option"

Hugh Wyn Griffith
08-26-2005, 02:16 PM
Anne -- if I remember the chart, for AT&T it just showed what looked like . . (two periods)

AT&T | web (http://www.att.com/) | 800-222-0300 | ..

What do you think that is meant to be since I don't have a period or decimal point on my phone keyboard?

I like the AT&T Wireless one: "No easy escape"

annc
08-26-2005, 02:18 PM
Poor Caddie! Please give her an extra pat for me.Thanks. I did, and she liked it! <g>

Hugh Wyn Griffith
08-26-2005, 02:18 PM
Many thanks for that -- I printed out the pages for Dottie and she has been using them today to advise banks and credit card companies that we will be using them in the UK and France shortly.

annc
08-26-2005, 02:21 PM
Sorry. Poor Caddie. (Poor you!)

Glad she snapped back.Yes, it was a fairly traumatic day. I mentioned to the vet that I was concerned about her weight loss (nearly a kilo in 12 months, with no change in diet - actually an increase after I noticed she was losing weight) so she did some further tests on the blood she took yesterday morning, and rang me back last night to ask me to collect a urine sample and drop it down today. Apparently there is an anomaly in one of the liver function tests, which could be something simple, but could also be a couple of serious things, so I did that first thing and will take it down this morning. Hope it's something simple.

annc
08-26-2005, 02:25 PM
Hope Caddie makes a quick recovery!Thanks, Terrie. She perked up on the drip, to the extent that she bared her teeth at the veterinary nurse when she went back to do something afer a couple of hours. <g> When they first got her, she was too sick to object to the business of putting her on it.

ElyseC
08-26-2005, 04:09 PM
Passed that link on to a friend who replied, "Hey, that could be HANDY! Thanks! (There are times when I actually PREFER to get an answering machine or voicemail to streamline my telephone "errands," but when trying to deal with a problem related to banking, credit, phone service, computers, etc. it really helps to have a humanoid on the line). Now--is there a special trick to ensure you get a human whose primary language is ENGLISH?"

My reply to her was, "Aye, there's the rub. <sigh>"

Susie
08-26-2005, 07:28 PM
Hope it's something simple.

I think good thoughts and send good vibes your way. It's really hard when you have a sick animal. They can't tell you what they need or want. Give Caddie lots of doggie smooches from Bailey (my dog) and me.

annc
08-26-2005, 08:14 PM
I think good thoughts and send good vibes your way. It's really hard when you have a sick animal. They can't tell you what they need or want. Give Caddie lots of doggie smooches from Bailey (my dog) and me.Thanks, Susie - will do.

Franca
08-26-2005, 10:28 PM
Belatedly reading through the updates ... I'm off on a quickie trip with laptop. I'm so glad Caddie's feeling better and I hope the anomaly in the liver values turns out to be nothing serious!

annc
08-26-2005, 10:38 PM
Belatedly reading through the updates ... I'm off on a quickie trip with laptop. I'm so glad Caddie's feeling better and I hope the anomaly in the liver values turns out to be nothing serious!Thanks, Franca. The urine test was normal in every way, so on Monday I have to take her back for another blood test.

ktinkel
08-27-2005, 06:42 AM
Hope it's something simple.Me too. Fingers crossed.

marlene
08-27-2005, 10:28 AM
we will be using them in the UK and France shortly

Moving (fed up with all the hurricanes?) or just vacationing?

mxh

annc
08-27-2005, 12:50 PM
Me too. Fingers crossed.Thanks. The urine sample was normal in all respects, so tomorrow we do another blood sample for more tests.

terrie
08-27-2005, 12:57 PM
Hugh...glad you found it helpful...

Terrie

terrie
08-27-2005, 12:59 PM
>>annc: she bared her teeth at the veterinary nurse when she went back to do something afer a couple of hours. <g> When they first got her, she was too sick to object to the business of putting her on it.

Good sign...'-}} Hope the liver thing isn't a big deal...

Terrie

annc
08-27-2005, 01:08 PM
Good sign...'-}} Hope the liver thing isn't a big deal...Me too. The blood test on Monday should sort that out.

terrie
08-27-2005, 01:34 PM
I'll keep my fingers crossed...

Terrie

annc
08-27-2005, 01:50 PM
I'll keep my fingers crossed...Thanks, Terrie.

Hugh Wyn Griffith
08-27-2005, 02:06 PM
Can't afford to live in Europe -- it's just a vacation.

Again, like last year, we've escaped so far here in the Tampa Bay area. In any case for the rest of the year it's just wonderful.

Steve Rindsberg
08-29-2005, 05:02 PM
I forget whether it was Delta or Northwest, but I kept saying things like "You're a moron" and worse ... much much worse ... until it finally gave up and let me talk to a human. I sincerely *hope* that the original machina a mano conversation was in fact "recorded to better serve" me. <g>