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April 22, 2005

Here's a neat little trick for dealing with voice menus

A couple of days ago I inadvertently discovered a useful little trick. Many of you may already be veterans at this, but I just had to share the joy of discovery.

I called my insurance company to have an adjuster come out to check for the presence hail damage on our roof. Like many companies do nowadays, this company uses a voice-driven menu system to route calls. And like many companies, this menu system seems like it is 300 levels deep.

I had made it to about the third level when my son Daniel tried to ask me a question from the living room. As the menu system was asking its question, I called out to Daniel from the kitchen, "Daniel, I'm talking on the phone!"

The menu system instantly broke off mid-sentence. Silence for a moment, then:

"I'm sorry, I didn't understand your response. Please hold while I transfer you to one of our customer service representatives."

Three seconds later, I was talking to someone who was able to take care of my claim.

I don't know if all voice-driven menu systems behave in this way, but you may want to try it some time. Here are the steps once again. You may want to write them on an index card and leave it by the phone, just so you'll be ready.

1. Dial the desired number.

2. Wait for the menu system to begin a voice prompt.

3. While the menu system is in mid-sentence, call out in a loud voice, "Daniel, I'm talking on the phone!"

It is possible that some name other than "Daniel" might work, but this name has a proven track record. You may use it royalty-free.

You're welcome.


Anonymous said...

Dialing in "9" or "0" often has the same effect and has the bonus of being "Noise Friendly".

Ray said...

Don't say it too harshly or you'll be connected to Child Protective Services!