As we prepare to enter the most wonderful time of the year—the time after the holidays are over—The Consumerist is working to help prepare you for the inevitable calls to customer service departments. Whether it’s to return a product, get some directions, or just to find a sympathetic voice to leave on hold for ten minutes at a time *, you’re going to have to navigate the Interactive Voice Response systems that serve as gatekeepers to real, bored human employees.
Paul English’s IVR Cheat Sheet is a frequently updated index of steps needed to “find a human.” Some of the old tips still work, like pressing zero until you’ve discovered the multi-digit number that indicates the company’s level of concern over your satisfaction. Others, like ###, poetically wink at the coursing blood that constricts your very brain.
* Customer service reps actually love this. It means they have to stay on the line, but don’t have to talk to you. Give the gift of wasting an employer’s money.