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Can you avoid being put on hold while making calls?

Can You Avoid Being Put On Hold While Making Calls?

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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Join the discussion

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Lori July 28 2014 at 8:50 AM

The expression is "You catch more FLIES with honey than you do with vinegar." NOT "You'll catch more bees with honey..." Bees make the honey; you're not going to use it to catch them.

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jcbstz July 28 2014 at 9:47 AM

I don't wait for options. Just hit 0 enough times and you g an operartor

Flag Reply +3 rate up
bailey.willie July 28 2014 at 8:57 AM


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3 replies
Christopher July 28 2014 at 12:48 PM

She makes a living by making you miserable

is she a politician ?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
gcanning775 July 28 2014 at 11:42 AM

shucks i thought this would be about nancy pelosi(we have to pass it before we read it)

Flag Reply +2 rate up
bbltmrchris July 28 2014 at 9:02 AM

You will catch no bees with Honey...

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
mrdata98 bbltmrchris July 28 2014 at 12:43 PM

That's very true, Einstein. Since bees make the freakin' honey, you don't need it to catch them. If you wanna catch bees (and why would you?) try to take away their honey.

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CMEL57 July 28 2014 at 6:09 PM

Must be a slow news day in AOL land. Who cares?

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endmilll July 28 2014 at 6:24 PM

I had a ex wife that was good at that.

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alfredschrader July 28 2014 at 5:56 AM

And there's one other option.
See if you can find a local office of the company and simply go there in person.
But, if you try this with AT andT you'll get a shock. The local AT and T people wont help you, they give you an 800 number to call.
You don't realize it, but when you are on hold the firm is stepping on you like a bug - especially when they start gobbling up your cell phone minutes.
Time is money.
If you get put on hold or into a "hold que" the statistics show that the firm is a short time away from failing.
I wouldn't make any long term commitments with a firm whose customer service makes you wait.
In a short time, they wont have any customers and will fail. In our modern fast paced world few people have time.

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2 replies
wlh1923 alfredschrader July 28 2014 at 10:30 AM

Gobbling up your Cell phone minutes? Seriously? Other than people with pre-paid minutes and no contract cell phone plans (lower income/poverty level users) does anyone with a normal cell phone plan and carrier worry about "your minutes" any longer?

Your preposterously absurd statement regarding long hold times that "the statistics show that the firm is a short time away from failing" is something right out of Bill O'Reilly's playbook. Can't sustain an argument? At a loss for words in a discussion? Simply state the generic "studies show" or "statistics show" .... Bill O'Reilly does that on the fly and even manufactures fake studies and phoney data to make himself seem like he knows what he is talking about. he doesn't. You don't. There are NO STATISTICS as you claim and you point is a preposterous sham.

In our modern fast paced world it isn't agreed that few people have the time, rather, it is that few people will take the time. I have plenty of time and simply hang up.

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1 reply
moradadavislodi wlh1923 July 28 2014 at 11:16 AM

Wow! You are one ANGRY lady! Change your angel to something more appropriate or simply chill.

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kristine paula alfredschrader July 28 2014 at 2:02 PM

@alfred....she is not 'one angry lady" nor am I !! I am an informed woman who does not listen nor will be taken in by generic unsubstantiated statistics!!! your comments regarding AT&T are surprising...I have always had wonderful service both at store level and phone/on line!! Of course there are bad apples in every company... I do not agree with her comments singling out so called "lower income/poverty level users"...WHY that came out of her mouth other than to make a statement about her own socio economic level I will never know and frankly no one cares!!!! It amazes me how no one can make a statement anymore and STAY ON SUBJECT without throwing a few digs in about I AM BETTER THAN YOU BECAUSE OF..........

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ngbiker1 July 28 2014 at 6:29 PM

sorry, but being married to my wife beats her any day.

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