This is old news to many including me, but I heard a segment on the television news tonight about this helpful tool. It is worth spreading the information for those who haven’t heard about it.
I can’t say that I’ve been flustered while navigating interactive voice response (IVR) systems. I do get frustrated when I am placed on hold for a long time, waiting for an operator.
There are certain times I need to bypass even a straightforward IVR to speak to an operator or agent about something out of the ordinary, like when my first Roth IRA withdrawal for the year didn’t take place. In a case like this, with IVR systems designed to keep a caller from reaching a live individual, this tool comes in handy:
The IVR Cheat Sheet™ by Paul English lists companies, categorized by type of organization (finance, retail, etc.), with a corresponding secret code which, when pressed on the keypad or spoken, initates a transfer to an operator. You may still have to wait before they pick up the phone, but at least you know you’ll get there. It’s the grown-up variation of U-U-D-D-L-R-L-R-B-A-B-A-Select-Start.
Keep the IVR Cheat Sheet close to your phone whenever you need to deal with customer service.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published January 9, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.