There is nothing that can be done by the customer to fix these machines, but the they can use a few tricks in order to get around them more quickly.
- Before calling any company attempt to use their website. Either to get the information you need or to find a quicker solution to your problem, or just to get the right numbers and information before you call them.
- Attempt to follow the answering machines guided tour. Keep handy paper and a pen so that you can write down your number selections. These allow you to get through the machine more quickly in the future if you wish to call back or if you get disconnected.
- If you wind up at a dead end on the answering machine hit "0" or "#". This will usually get you to an operator (or disconnect you).
- If this doesn't work go through the phone and select options that you think will get you to a live person. This might be as simple as telling the machine that you speak Spanish ( I can't bring myself to do that, but supposedly it works). The live person can then transfer you to the place where you need to go. When you get there make sure you get the direct number or extension to that person.
There are a few unique rules to automated answering machines:
- If you have an accent (like I do) fill out as much info as possible using your phones keyboard.
- If all else fails screaming "Customer Service" at the machine will usually get you to a person.
- If a company or agency you call has you on hold for 1 hour or more, try and call early in the morning on Tuesday, just as soon as they open and you will often get straight through. Many larger companies and agencies send out their collection notices, bills, etc. on Thursday or Friday along with their payslips and paychecks. As a result Monday, Thursday and Friday can be difficult to get through on the phones.
- If a problem cannot be resolved over the phone, try and go to a branch location and have one of their employees try and resolve the issue. If they have to go on the phone, they can usually get straight to the person you need.
- Some companies and agencies function better through the email system. If a response comes within 1-2 hours of being sent, you have struck gold. If a response does not come back for a week or more then try a different solution.
- Problems can also be resolved through social media. Sometimes a simple comment on a companies facebook page or twitter account can result in a prompt call back.