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Break out of "phone jail" with GetHuman
Merlin Mann | Oct 6 2007
In yesterday's post about putting customer service numbers onto your mobile phone, commenter Joe suggested checking out Paul English's wonderful GetHuman, a website that diligently collects and updates the phone numbers (and key punches) necessary to get you straight through to a human being at 500 well-known companies.
I realize this site is ancient news to a lot of you, but I couldn't believe I'd never featured it in its own post here; I've been loving and using the crap out of GH (and the preceding IVR) for years now. Consider the oversight rectified.
Paul also shares some smart tips for intrepid information seekers (Hint: that fast "0" mashing tip has worked great for me):
A propos of nothing
I seem to recall mathowie once telling me that if you repeatedly scream obscenities at a voice robot, you sometimes get straight through. I’m not sure if it actually ever works, but it just feels great to scream the f-word into a phone sometimes.
Also new to me: here's a list of the 500 companies and their secret knocks that's suitable for printing at teeny-tiny size and sticking into your notebook or backpack. Or -- if you're feeling particularly ambitious -- one imagines it wouldn't be too hard to convert the HTML table into a CSV file that could pretty easily be munged into an importable list. Just if you're feeling ambitious.
Confidential to Paul: If it's not a programmatic nightmare for you, I suspect that exporting your list to a downloadable vCard (with the secret code in "Notes") would make you a hero. Also? You need you a prominent PayPal link, my friend. :) Great work, and thanks.
Update 2007-10-06 17:27:12 PDT
cshneid and dansays have each done us the honor of mashing up a vCard version of the GetHuman 500. So now you can get all 500 numbers into Address Book (and onto your iPhone) with a nice, easy import. Worked great for me!
See post comments for more info. -- mdm
Update 2007-10-07 07:06:26 PDT
Paul has added a tab-separated file and a vCard version of the gethuman database on his site. Whenever the database is updated, you can grab a new copy for your Address Book. Thanks for the fast response, Paul. more »
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