Household Tips How to shortcut automated call centre menus

Published on June 23rd, 2013 | by Tom Wake

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How to ‘shortcut’ your way through automated call centre menus

How to shortcut automated call centre menusIn the constant quest to lower staff overheads (and bore the living daylights out of us) more and more companies use automated call centre menus. The good news is there’s now a way to save yourself a headache and fight back…

We’ve all been there…

All you want to do is check your bank account balance, or top up your mobile phone credit, or some simple thing, but instead of ringing a number and talking to an actual human you have to suffer endless barrage of multiple choice menus.

“If you are calling about your account balance, please press 1…. if you would like to top up your account please press 2… if you are about to hurl your phone against the wall and stamp on it please press 3…”

It’s infuriating and sometimes it can take 5 or 10 minutes (or more) to get through to anyone who can actually help.

What if there was a way to shortcut all the automated menus and get through to the information or operative you’re after, without all the rigmarole?

Well now there is (if you’re based in the UK or the US). One man has made it his mission to document and sketch out, digit-by-digit, the shortcuts for all the major call centres.

Who is this hero of the modern age?

He’s a retired IT manager called Nigel Clarke. Nigel was so frustrated having to sit through endless call centre menu options that he decided to do something about it and personally went through hundreds of UK companies and organisations’ automated telephony systems. You’ll find everything from Natwest to John Lewis here.

He’s put them all on an easy-to-navigate website called ‘Please Press 1’.

You can see it here

Here’s what you can use the site for:

– Discovering the direct line to any services/departments

– Discovering online alternatives to any services/departments

– Where no direct line (or online alternative) is available you’re given with the exact sequence of numbers you need to press in order to get through to the right department in the fastest possible time

Here’s an example of how it looks. I typed in a simple search for Aviva Car Insurance and it brought up this page:


When you click on a term (for example ‘Motor Insurance’, which I clicked in the above screenshot) it brings up a drop down list of options.

So if I’m just after a new quote on my car insurance I can see I should press 1, followed by 3. You can also see that some of the options are available online and in these cases he’s provided a link.

I think this is a superb, well thought out tool which helps take away a great deal of the frustration involved in calling call centres with automated menus.

It’s free to use, regularly updated and if you don’t see the business or organisation you’re after you can put in a request for them to research it.

Full marks.



About the Author

My name's Tom Wake and I'm the editor of Insider's Edge. I bring you tips, tricks and shortcuts to help you save money, make money and save time.



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