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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Customer Service Phones

Fascinating - and timely seasonal - piece on this morning's NPR with "entrepreneur" Paul English being interviewed about his guide to big biz customer service phone systems.

He was telling us the quickest way to reach a human - a topic that resonates, having for some years been one of those much-sought phonistas.

For me, the most interesting fact to surface was what a common solution it seems to be, to dial a number and then hit a succession of 0s to hopskip over the next recorded voice. Mr English seems to hit 0-0 in quick succession, whereas I time them, waiting for the next recorded voice until I reach the link for a human.

Certainly, it works with UPS, whose 1-800-PICK-UPS (742-5877) number I call several times a day and bless the way those 0s speed me over the taped stuff to an actual helpful human.

Ellen Hobbs is another. Her distinctly UN-clichéd page blows the cover on that elusive 1-800-201-7575 Amazon.com numéro.

She's also considerate enough to ask us to go easy on the rep at the end of that line: by the time customers gets thru, not only do they have their original complaint, but they're doubly irate from the effort of tracing the number.

In fact, Ms Hobbs credits another useful page as inspiration for her success.

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