Skip The Phone Support Queue By Calling Sales And Acting Confused

Skip The Phone Support Queue By Calling Sales And Acting Confused

Don’t want to get stuck with a long wait when you ring a support line? There’s a trick you can use for skipping the queue: just call sales line instead and act confused.

Photo remixed from an original by Valentyn Volkov (Shutterstock)

Because companies essentially exist to make money, they’re generally going to have a larger staff available to help with sales calls. That means less people are available for customer support and you’re stuck with longer wait times. For this reason, you can often expedite your support call by simply calling the sales line instead.

At the very least this will prevent you from dealing with the telephone tree as you can ask the sale rep to transfer you to the proper department. In some cases, if you act confused, you can request that the sales rep stay on the line with you until you get to the correct department. Because they probably don’t want to wait on hold either, this can bump you to the head of the line. This is kind of unfair to the others who are legitimately waiting, but should you be in a particular hurry one day and really need to get ahead, it’s not a bad idea to put into practice. Thanks for the tip, Ehaab!


  • Actually I’ve done this a couple of times with Umart Online, they are generally very good with customer support, but recently the phone either runs of the hook or you get the wait music and ringing from Toowoomba to Brisbane is a long distance call, so I generally hang up after a couple of minutes. Unfortunately when I call Support, sometimes the same thing will happen! #{

  • That usually doesn’t work in my experience. I find that calling through to 1 department doesn’t put you in the front of the queue when being transferred to another department, you’ve usually got to wait like everyone else.

    • True, you possibly have to wait, but at least it gets you to the rigt place.

      In Melb recently, I tried to phone navigate the phone line to pay my eToll. I was on the phone for over 5 minutes still pushing buttons to figure stuff out.

      On my second attempt, I went to the wrong dept on purpose so I could talk to someone to put me onto the right person so I could pay my bill. Turns out that they could make the payment for me.

      Took me all of two minutes to pay and be on my way.

      So, plus 1 for this tip. I do use it regularly with other 13 (etc) numbers I call.

  • I do this all the time. I don’t even make an excuse or act confused, I just tell them what I want and they transfer me.

    It usually doesn’t help skip the queue, but it saves having to navigate through the whole phone tree, since ‘buy more of our stuff’ is usually the first option.

    And if you have a general query there is a good chance someone from sales can answer it without having to transfer you. They also generally speak better english and are more helpful than overseas based support.

  • The other way to “be confused” is to just push 0 at any menu selection – usually the computer will transfer you through to an operator to deal with your query.

    Alternatively, when you’re calling sales make it clear that you’re sick of dealing with the wait times and unresolved queries and you’re ready to cancel your service. That usually gets them very helpful.

  • Whenever I get one of those voice recognition services and I know I just need an operator, I just keep saying stupid things and mashing the keypad until I hear the inevitable “you are being transferred to an operator” 😀

  • As someone who works in a phone support style centre, the sale department has to sit in our queue as much as any other customer. The queues system doesn’t really allow for jumping.

    You are honestly just wasting your own time calling sales as a “quick” way to get to the support people.

  • Having worked in support, there is nothing that annoys a support rep more than a customer who calls the sales department to jump the queue.

    Sales reps are generally arrogant idiots who don’t understand support, but either try to provide it themselves anyway (which usually breaks stuff), or they complain loudly until someone in support is forced to deal with the issue simply to get them to go away.

    All you are going to do is annoy your support reps, which usually means your level of support goes down.

    Here’s a much better tip:

    Be patient, wait your turn, and say please and thank you. It will usually result in a better outcome.

  • I used to have the PIN number to put you at the front of the queue for Optus, but lost it. The PIN that Optus staff at your place and need to ring support to activate the connection, etc. Makes you the very next call answered. However most phone support staff are clueless idiots that only read scripts. ie. Telling me to format my HDD and re-install Windows for an obvious hardware issue (no link lights on the Ethernet connection) – I told him earlier when he told me to this other stuff, it’s not software the modems faulty and I want it replaced but all he said was “If you’re not prepared to follow our advice we can’t help you” – So I told him I did it all without actually doing it (It was more than 1 as well, as I had to ring back after “re-installing windows”)

  • *twitch*

    This doesn’t actually save time for the most part. Most call queue allocation software will track the total time that you’ve been in the system – from when you hit the top of the phone tree to when you drop into the queue for an operator – so when you skip the tech support tree, go and talk to sales, act confused, and get transferred to tech support – most of the time it gets you straight to the top of the queue, because you spent more time BS’ing the sales person.

    If the sales person is a bit cluey with the software, they might watch the tech support queue, see when an agent frees up and in the work break before taking their next call, grab that operator. That’s actually really annoying for the tech support person, and bad for customers long run, because the helpdesk person they just interrupted was in the middle of writing notes for their last case. Ever called tech support back, and they have no idea what happened last time you called? Guess why.

    In a previous helpdesk that I’ll not name, we knew full well that people tried these games to get around the wait time – so we punished them. We dropped their calls by accident. We directed them to the wrong queue and we generally gave them the run around. Because nobody likes a queue jumper. We were sorry we couldn’t answer every call immediately and we asked our boss for more support resources – but the people who waited patiently on hold? They waited patiently on hold and they have to wait longer if you dodge around the system and waste a sales guy’s time – why should you get to cut the line because you chewed up a sales guy’s time?

    And really, when the pointy haired boss looks at the time on calls stats and sees that the sales queue and the tech support queue are getting a bit long – which department do you think he’s going to give contested budget too for more staff?

    I hate bad helpdesks. I hate automated response systems that spend an hour trying to find out which one of three departments you want. I hate having my time wasted by an awful process. But the sales route around? It’s not helping anyone.

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