Use Spanish To Slice Through CSR Phone Hell

Christopher says there are advantages to pressing “2.” According to him, United States-based call centers give Spanish speakers fewer hoops to jump through before they get answers. He writes:

I don’t know about you, but as an I/T person, I dread the calls I have to make to customer support centers. Especially to the big companies like Dell. I hate having to be told to reboot my computer, or unplug and re-plug the modem (don’t you think I’ve already tried that?) I hate having to listen to the pre-prepared scripts and this disaffection towards my plight. I want someone who cares about my problem, not a robot.

Because I can speak Spanish, I have an edge. I can use my Spanish powers to summon US English customer support representatives! It works like this:

When you get “Para Espanol, marque dos” press 2. Don’t be afraid. Spanish is your friend even if you don’t speak it.

Some companies like Dell will still send you to the Indian customer support center if you press the option for Spanish. Don’t worry, they’re just testing you. Be prepared.

If you can tell that you got the offshore customer support center when pressing two, then say “Hola! Necessito ayudar en Espanol, por favor!” (Hello, I need help in Spanish, please.) The CSR will usually apologize and put you on hold.

When the Spanish speaking operator picks up, switch back to English. This is almost always a US-based employee answering the phone.


Most large companies are unable to offshore their bilingual call centers or use their US call centers for overflow while the India centers take all the incoming calls. Companies that don’t have any Spanish speakers will usually outsource that to West Telemarketing of San Antonio, TX, who specializes in bilingual customer support given the higher density of Spanish speakers living in that area and other similar telemarking companies who do business in the Southwest and California.

Can anyone vouch for the system? It seems to be more worthwhile than spamming “0” until you get a live person on the phone. I tried that with Comcast today and got a message saying they were unable to process my call at this time, followed by a hang-up.

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