As companies cut back in this recession more of them are using automated systems to deal with customers. It's costing them less money, but costing consumers their patience. Angie: "It makes you want to move your service, it makes you want to change providers."
We told Angie about www.gethuman.com a website listing nearly 1400 companies, their customer service numbers, shortcuts to getting a live person on the phone, and the average wait time.
Some of the inside information come from customer service reps themselves. Angie: "I love that, it's like a secret little code!"
For Comcast it says you need to press * # at each prompt, ignoring the messages. Or don't press anything at all, and after three "no responses," the system will put you through to a live person.
For Cigna pressing # # or saying "associate" at each prompt is supposed to get you through.
Angie was eager to try it on PG&E.
First without the website's help, navigating PG&E's phone system took 6-1/2 minutes.
Then with the shortcuts she shaved two minutes off the call. Not a huge difference, but Angie says every minute counts.
I tried the shortcuts for my Citi card and got a customer service rep in 49 seconds! That's lightning fast in the customer service world!
Twitter is being touted as the next big thing in customer service, as a way for companies to directly and quickly respond to their customers via the internet. A lot of big-name companies are now using Twitter for customer service. But like any new technology, it's a work in progress. After all, solving a technical problem in 140 characters or less, is pretty hard.
So if you're sticking to the old fashioned way of calling customer service... Some other tips:
Avoid calling on a Monday.
If you have the option to call at an odd hour, do so.
And when you finally do get a live person on the line, ask them how to get directly to them for the next time you call or if you get disconnected.