Being put on hold is basically a waste of time, but companies don't want to lose you (even if it feels like they just don't care). So who exactly is behind those voices trying to keep us from hitting "end"? "Good Morning America" decided to find out.
"We know what you're going through. But trust me, it's only for a few minutes," ABC reports. "You see, Brooks makes a living by making your life miserable, keeping you on hold."
Pat Brooks works for Spectrio, an on-hold messaging company whose goal is to keep you on the phone. But what if you don't want to wait? Is there some sort of strategy or tactic to beat the system?
"I can tell you yelling doesn't work," Brooks said.
Yeah, it seems obvious, but this is an incredibly depressing confirmation - that there's nothing you can do to speed up hold time. But don't fret just yet - we decided to do a little digging and found a few helpful hints you can put to the test.
CityNews Toronto talked to Oscar Alban, who runs Witness Systems, a company that creates call center monitoring software. He gave the outlet a few pointers to help you shorten your time spent on hold.
First, timing is everything. He says Wednesday through Friday are the best days to call a company - that's when fewer people are calling. Also, never try calling after business hours, even if the company is open late. Also, avoid holidays.
Another site advises not to call during lunchtime.
Next, try being a little sneaky. Alban admits this won't always work, but says when given the option to choose a language other than English, try it. He says many representatives are actually bilingual, and you might end up speaking to someone faster.
Lastly – don't forget about that trusty button that's been a source of information since before there were cell phones: zero.
Alban says, "It's not always true, but when you're greeted by that laundry list of options at the start, pressing '0' during business hours will generally get you to a receptionist who may have a better idea of who you should speak to."
But zero might not be your only out.
WikiHow says you can "dial '*' or '#' four or more times. A lot of companies have a special combination (usually repeated keys) to let their sales reps or field technicians get a hold of someone quickly." That could be a fun one.
And, our personal tip: Embrace your on-hold time – call when you have a gap in your schedule, put the phone on speaker, and flip on the TV while you wait.
So, those are a few ways to try to beat the system. But remember - keep your cool no matter how long you've been waiting. You'll catch more bees with honey.
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