How To Hack A Call Center Telephone System
How To Hack A Call Center Menu System: Tired of touch-tone hell? Get human with our cool phone hacks and cheats. Become a life hacker - we'll show you how to find phone numbers, cheat the computer and hack the call center system with our hacking tools.
Step 1: Call the wrong number
If you're calling to complain, most companies will make you pay for the pleasure by publicising a high-cost number prefixed with codes like 0845 or 0870. These can charge up to 10 times the price of a normal local call. Instead, try calling the sales line, which is often cheaper or even free, and ask to be put through to the relevant department. Some companies also provide a number for people calling from overseas, which you can call from within the same country for the cost of a regular call.
Step 2: Do your homework
Most companies also have a private geographical phone number which they'd rather you didn't know about. These are almost always local rate or toll free.
Try searching the company name on the internet, accompanied by phrases like "head office", "investor relations" or simply "phone numbers".
If this fails, visit a search tool like www.whois.sc and type in the company's web address. Amongst other things, this will tell you geographical address of the company who registered the URL, occasionally with a name, number and email address as well. The name is likely to be a technical person, but if you call the number they might be able to put you through to another human being straight away and help you jump the queue. If all you get is an address, try googling it to get a phone number.
In the UK, a fast way to find geographic alternatives for high-cost 0870 numbers is to visit www.saynoto0870.com - a site which has already done a lot of the hard work for you.
Step 3: Hack the touchtone system
Most automated queuing systems have a "cheat" code which will send you straight through to a human being.
The codes vary from system to system, but the most common secret keys are 0, # and *. Try pressing these in a variety of ways - once, repeatedly or in quick succession. Alternatively, try pressing nothing to trick the system into thinking you don't have a touch-tone phone.
Visit www.gethuman.com for the hack codes for hundreds of companies.
Step 4: Voice recognition
Some computerised voice recognition systems have key words that will fast-forward you through the menu system. Try phrases like "get human", "get agent" or "get representative". Also try raising your voice, swearing at the computer or mumbling.
Step 5: Be nice
When you do eventually get through to a human, ask for their name and reference number - and write this down. If they know you've got their name they'll know you can hold them accountable and are more likely to help you. Even if you find them frustrating, remain calm. They deal with angry people all day, so by being pleasant to deal with you're far more likely to secure their help.
Step 6: Climb the ladder
If the advisor is genuinely unable to help, politely ask to speak to their supervisor. As before, be nice about it, but don't give up - if the supervisor is unavailable, ask to leave a message. Make sure though that you ask for their direct line to that you can call them - without waiting in a queue - if they don't get back to you.