VOIP-News has a list of 50 ways to get through to a real, live, not necessarily well-trained CSR on phone systems. We’re posting this not just because their first tip is “Read the Consumerist,” but because there are some really good ideas here, like hitting up EDGAR to search for contact info on public companies.
Here are tips 1-9, from the “Numbers to Call” section:
1. “Read The Consumerist.”
2. “Go to the collections department.”
This is a department companies will actually devote resources to, so your odds of reaching a live person can jump dramatically.
3. “Search EDGAR.“
4. “Find important numbers through Whois.net.”
5. “Call the number for new service.”
As with the collections, companies have a strong incentive to provide efficient customer service to possible new customers, so pretend to be one.
6. “Find the right number.”
VOIP-News writes, “If you find a specialized number, you’re more likely to get through quickly.” We agree only if it’s truly a special, not-revealed-to-the-public number—otherwise you risk falling back into the company’s automated system and miss your chance to game it.
7. “Call the retentions department.”
See #2 and #5 above.
8. “Do a Web search for the company.”
“Hit your favorite search engine and enter the company’s name, plus terms such as ‘president,’ ‘investor relations’ or ‘executive service.’” You should also try similar searches on Consumerist for past contact info posts.
9. “Find disgruntled customers.”
“Again, search engines can help you locate numbers if you enter phrases such as ‘I hate company X’ or ‘company X sucks.’”
(Thanks to Andy!)