If you have ever had to call customer service to get help with an online order or find out more about a product, you know how hard it is to get an actual human on the telephone. More and more places, from department stores to doctors’ offices to hotels, have gone almost entirely automated.
While some questions like store location and hours can easily be answered by pressing a key on the phone menu or through artificial intelligence (AI), other inquiries do require human assistance.
What can you do to speak to an actual human on the phone? Here are some tips:
The most straightforward approach is to press zero, which, in most cases, will connect you to a human operator. However, that operator may ask to place you on a “brief hold” and do so before you even have a chance to agree.
The 0# Hack
Music industry expert Liz Kamlet posted a TikTok video claiming that customers can bypass the menu and go straight to a customer service representative at many companies by typing the number zero followed by the pound sign three times in a row (0# 0# 0#) any time they are asked to describe the reason for their call.
The Daily Mail tested the claim, and the trick proved successful at five of the eight major U.S. companies they tried, including Chase Bank, American Airlines and Amazon. This trick may not work for much longer, now that the Kamlet’s post has gone viral.
File a Complaint
Sometimes you have to be a squeaky wheel to get attention. File a grievance, not with the company but on social media. If you post about a bad experience on Instagram, Twitter or TikTok and tag the company, you may get a response from a human, especially if your post gets a lot of attention.
Choose a Different Prompt
Companies are more likely to have a human answer quicker to prompts such as “new service” or “cancel my account” than “check the status of my order” or other requests. Select a different option and then feign ignorance to get rerouted to the right department. A major exception to this hack: Do not use it if you are trying to contact a medical professional or hospital where the issues can be life or death.