Swear At Voice Recognition Systems To Get To Real People Faster

You know the feeling: you're ringing a customer service line and the company has an automated voice recognition system, which either fails to work at all or is painfully slow. Try swearing: in some cases, that will trigger a fast connection to a real live human operator.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Motherboard reports on a Reddit user who found that swearing while on the phone to Apple speedily saw him connected to an actual person. I haven't tested if the same option is possible for Apple Australia, but it wouldn't be difficult to try the next time you're stuck on the phone to someone.

Even if it doesn't work, the swearing can be helpful; you'll get the anger out of your system and can concentrate on getting what you want by being nice when you do eventually talk to someone. Call centres can track anger levels in live conversations, so the swearing detection doesn't seem like a stretch.

If You Swear at Apple's Automated Customer Service, They'll Put You Through to a Human [Motherboard]


Comments

    Been trying this for years. Never worked.

    Can someone give an actual example of this happening in OZ for an OZ company?

      Same here.

      Suspect that if swearing to circumvent the menu is really a feature it's turned off for the Australian market.

    just say operator for every response

      +1. Eventually the system gives up asking you questions and puts you through to a live person. Mashing the keypad Homer Simpson style also works for those press 1 systems.

      I agree and do the same. I have had the displeasure of the autobot kicking me off the line after IT git frustrated, I was both confused and alarmed.

    As far as I'm conserned, having a voice recognition service on your telephone line is a sure fire way to make sure you loose out on sales, and the people you do get to talk to will be pissed off before you even start.

    Without a doubt voice recognition systems is the stupidist technology to ever hit our markets. Cheapskates, just pay people to provide good telephone customer service and you will find yourself with far happier clients .... Telcos, I'm looking directly at you!!! And don't you snigger over there, Insurance agencies, You're next!!

    with a few bank/credit card call centers that want you to enter in your account number, then birth date, then another long string of numbers i found just repeatedly hitting the # buttons put me through to someone quickly.

    I don't see the point of entering in all those numbers because the human operator always asks you to repeat all those number all over again.

    So this blog post generalises a specific finding via a link to a blog post linking to a reddit post by a dude who makes a claim based off one experience.

    Hmm.

    The last time I did that to a voice recognition system (Telstra) it hang up on me.

    I have never called into an automated voice recognition system. I have however called several speech recognition system. For a website dedicated to gadgets and tech, can Gizmodo please make sure to differentiate between speech recognition and voice recognition.

    Voice recognition differentiates the speaker from their voices, without regard to what was said. Like in a security system you may see in the movies and how an infant may recognise the voice of his/her mother without understanding what was said.

    Speech recognition understands what was said, without regard to the speaker. Like Siri and DragonDictate.

    Last edited 27/11/12 7:05 pm

    Just choose the option to get through to their Sales department - you'll dodge the Service queue and the Sales bod's transfer through to Service is (usually) weighted at a higher priority.

    Last time I swore at a speech recognition system the response was "It sounds like you're saying goodbye,"

    Just mumble to every question. Say blahgahyarlath for example. After 3 "I didn't get thats" they usually transfer you to a person.

    It was especially helpful going back a long time when one of the ticketing phone numbers there was no option to buy concession tickets on the automated system nor was there was a way to speak to an actual person unless it couldn't understand what event you wanted (all the options after that were keypad entries)

    Yet another act like a douche/get what you want tip from Lifehacker.

    One time I thought I'd gotten thru all the VR, only to have a very computer like voice say "How can I help you?", When I said "Oh no, not another bloody machine." The voice said "I am not a machine sir." Just a call centre worker who seems to have had English lessons from Stephen Hawking.

    You could sound like a right dimwit swearing into your phone whilst making a call in public, or you could use a more subtle and smarter way and just press "#" roughly 3 times and it will divert you to an operator.

    I've worked for plenty of call centres and have had to call through the company's IVR to get to another department more than a few times! I've found the best way to get where you need to go is to speak like a robot - as monotone and clear as possible.

    It's likely the guy only got through by swearing because the recognition software could not understand what he was saying and just transferred him through like it does in most cases where the person is not being understood.

    NO!
    NO!
    NO!

    By swearing to the voice recognition you will be placing yourself in a negative mood for the call. The most important thing you MUST do when calling is to calm yourself.

    If you are calm and friendly and your voice carries no stress you will get better service.

    If you become frustrated with the voice recognition just say "operator" or "reception" instead.

    Calm, zen-like, friendly. That person on the other side is a human, you wouldn't walk up to someone in the street and shout in their face or question their parentage, by swearing at the voice recognition system you will be setting yourself up though to do just that.

    As an example, I phoned Hellstra and got a foreign teleworker. Instead of a normal Aussie racist red-faced rant.... I had a friendly chat with her, ask her how her day had been, as if she were a personal friend. Smiling during chatting to her it was not only a pleasant experience she went out of her way to help, including making a personal call to me the next day to see that my problem was gone.

    Please don't swear at the voice recognition, and when you get a person give it a try, treat them like a friend and be amazed at what happens.

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