Get A Human Quicker By Pretending To Speak Spanish

Here’s a great hack for getting to a telephone customer service rep quickly: fake that you speak Spanish.

Or rather, when they say, “Press 1 for English, para el espa

ol, marque dos,” — press 2.

When the agent comes on the line, just politely say you don’t speak Spanish and can they please help you in English.

For some reason, the waits are shorter for Spanish-speaking customers. Probably because fewer of them are calling in.

They’re always happy to do so, says tipster Dan. He says that it works no matter where he tries it.



Edit Your Comment

  1. Malaclypse says:

    Thank you Consomerist for this little tidbit I wish I had thought of myself!

    I’m sure this one tip alone will save me enough time to make up for the time I waste reading this blog for snarky entertainment.

  2. with my luck i’d get the rep in the ecuador call center who speaks no english.

  3. bigroblee says:

    Cingular outsources it’s Spanish reps to a vendor center in Monterey and although I speak some Spanish I have trouble understanding both their English and their Spanish. Just a word of caution.

  4. KesCaesar says:

    I’ve been doing this for YEARS in America and with French in Canada.
    Now *everyone* will know! :)

  5. Ben Popken says:

    David writes:

    “Just to let you know, some cell phone providers (cricket for sure, since I worked there) train their spanish reps to release any english speakers who come in on the spanish only line. Unless the person is willing to complain to get a sup when that happens, it won’t be any faster than going through the english way.”

  6. neobolts says:

    This is a hit or miss strategy. It all depends on the staffing ratios of English speaking and Spanish speaking employees. When a company I worked for ran into staffing issues with their Spanish speaking reps, the wait time on the Spanish side regularly shot up to 2 hours. Spanish-speakers were choosing to engage in futile exercises in hopeless broken English to dodge the wait.

  7. acambras says:

    I once worked in a call center where, being bilingual, I took calls from both English and Spanish-speaking customers. At least for our call center, pushing the Spanish button wouldn’t have worked any better because, of about 20 of us on shift at a time, maybe 5 of us were bilingual. And if we were all on the phone with any customers (regardless of language), people would have some waiting time no matter what language they selected.

    Please — nobody tell the Garden Guys folks that I’m bilingual…

  8. miss smith says:

    Pressing the button for Spanish can also be a good way to avoid out-of-country call centers. Not too many spanish speakers in New Delhi.

  9. kuipo says:

    well, haha i work on a callcenter in monterrey mexico, there are several callcenters here, but the ones i know, handle, sage sales, comcast billing department, cingular, sprint and i don’t know wich others, and i work for the comcast billing department, and i speak both spanish and english, and i receive both type of calls, so in my experience, pressing 1 for english or 2 for spanish, may take you to the same rep.

  10. kuipo says:

    ok haha actually, almost a month later, i learned that actually, pressing 1 for english will get you a rep FASTER, i learned this because i had this call from a girl who was speaking a really weird english and then yelling back in spanish to her mom, so i told her i was bilingual and then talked to the lady, she told me in spanish she had to wait waaay longer that in english.