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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Find-A-Human -- Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Phone System Shortcuts

In telephony, interactive voice response, or IVR, is a computerized system that allows a person, typically a telephone caller, to select an option from a voice menu and otherwise interface with a computer system. Generally the system plays pre-recorded voice prompts to which the person presses a number on a telephone keypad to select the option chosen, or speaks simple answers such as "yes", "no", or numbers in answer to the voice prompts.

The latest systems use natural language speech recognition to interpret the questions that the person wants answered.

* Bank and stock account balances and transfers
* Surveys and polls
* Call center forwarding
* Simple order entry transactions
* Selective information lookup (movie schedules, etc.)

However, many IVR systems make it difficult to reach a human operator. Here are some documented shortcuts. Please note all shortcuts are subject to change.

Banks

Astoria Federal Savings ..... 800-ASTORIA
Shortcut: When you hear the womans voice press zero. Will transfer right away to a human.

Bank of America ..... 800-900-9000
Hit zero twice, after menu choices play

Bank One ..... 877-226-5663
Press 0 thru the options to get a live person

Chase ..... 800-CHASE24
Hit five, pause, then hit one, four, star, zero

CIBC ..... 800-465-2422
Enter card# and pin, then press 0

CitiBank ..... 800-374-9700
Zero

Commerce Bank ..... 800-YES-2000
touch "0" anytime after the computer answers

MBNA ..... 800-421-2110
press "0" twice when menu begins

Sovereign Bank ..... 800-SOV-BANK
personal banking: 1 for english 1 for personal banking 3 then enter social number then # then passcode then # then hit 0 (between 1 and 3 times)

Sun Trust Banks ..... 404-588-7815
Yes

US Bank ..... 800-USBANKS
Press 0 twice

Wachovia ..... 800-922-1800
accounts personal banking

Washington Mutual ..... 800-756-8000
At any time after the announcement(s) start press 'O'.

Wells Fargo ..... 800-869-3557
Zero

Cell Phone Companies

AT&T Wireless ..... 800-888-7600
No easy escape

Cellular One ..... 888-910-9191
press 4, say "agent", then #

Cingular ..... 800-331-0500
For faster service, press the option that you are looking to close your account,  You get the same ppl but an immediate answer

Cricket ..... 800-274-2538
Press 3, 1, then 3 again.

Nextel ..... 800-639-6111
Press "0" five times

Sprint PCS ..... 888-788-5001
Zero twice, then say "agent"

T-Mobile ..... 800-937-8997
Enter your phone number

Verizon Wireless ..... 800-922-0204
dial # then double zero

Credit Card Companies

American Express ..... 800-528-4800
Hit zero, pound, three times over (ignore prompts that it's an invalid entry)

Discover ..... 800-347-2683
Yes

MasterCard ..... 800-MC-ASSIST
Hit zero three times (once on each menu)

MBNA ..... 800-421-2110
press "0" twice when menu starts

Visa ..... 800-847-2911
Hit zero three times (ignore prompts saying that it's an invalid entry)

Insurance Companies

Aetna ..... 800-537-9384
2, then say "operator" (check this)

Aetna ..... 800-680-3566
Hit * then zero anytime

CIGNA ..... 800-516-2898
REGARDING A BILL

PC/Internet

AOL ..... 888-346-3704
0

Apple ..... 800-275-2273
Zero three times; if virtual rep answers, say "operator"

Compaq ..... 800-652-6672
No easy escape

Dell ..... 888-560-8324
Hit zero twice

Dell Customer Service ..... 800-624-9897
option 1, xt 7266966, option 1, option 4, option 4

Earthlink ..... 888-earthlink
"0" sometimes works!

Epson ..... 800-922-8911
yes

Gateway ..... 800-846-2301
Hit zero, pound

HP ..... 800-474-6836
Say "agent"

HP ..... 888-560-8324
Hit zero twice

IBM ..... 800-IBM-4YOU
You go into a hold queue immediately

Symantec ..... 800-441-7234
Subscription Services

Retail

Amazon.com ..... 800-201-7575
Direct to human

Best Buy ..... 800-365-0292
sales

Best Buy ..... any local store
wait for extension prompt (sometimes must press 4), then ext. 2021

Eckerd ..... 800-eckerds
press 0 for pharmacy, 8* for manager

KMart ..... Local
Press 0

Lowes Home Centers ..... All local numbers
hit 0 for customer service or #450 for commercial sales

Target ..... Local call
Press "0" during greeting.

Wal-Mart ..... 800-546-1897
press 0

Walgreens ..... local pharmacies
press 0 to speak to a pharmacy employee

Shipping

FedEx ..... 888-GO-FEDEX
hit 0 during msg.

FedEx ..... 888-GO-FEDEX
say "REP" during the message

UPS ..... 800-pick-ups
yes

Telco

AT&T (now a division of SBC) ..... 800-222-0300
..

BellSouth ..... 877-678-2355
Press "*" then "0"

SBC ..... 800-585-7928
Again, an (intelligent, this time) IVR wants YOUR phone number first.

Verizon On Line ..... 800-567-6789
Say "I don't know it" then "technician"

Travel

American Airlines ..... 800-433-7300
Press zero twice, then say "agent"

Amtrak ..... 800-872-7245
Zero or say "agent"

Continental ..... 800-523-3273
Three Delta 800-221-1212 Zero then say "operator"

Delta ..... 800-221-1212
say "agent" four times - every time it asks for a response from you

Kayak.com ..... 203 899-3120
0

Northwest ..... 800-225-2525
Star, zero, after initial greeting

Southwest ..... 800-435-9792
Calls answered by operator; during busy times you might have to hold

United ..... 800-864-8331
Say nothing (but you have to listen through lots of menus)

US Airways ..... 800-428-4322
Hit four after initial greeting, then hit one to connect.

Television

Comcast ..... 800-266-2278
Customer service, but an IVR wants your number first.

Dish Network ..... 800-333-3474
press "0" during menu

utilities

BG&E Power Company ..... 410-685-0123
For power outage in your area

links:
Find-A-Human [Quickbase.com]

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

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