Just bought an Apple product? Need support NOW? Drop an F-BOMB
Handy Reg Black Friday tip. No, don't thank us
When you're caught in automated telephone-support hell, there's a magic word you can utter to ensure that you're quickly routed to an actual human being: the "F-bomb".
"I was having some trouble with my (older) laptop and wanted to order a new keyboard to fix it myself," a Reddit poster writes. "After exploring every option possible in the machine based list, I eventually got frustrated and used a few choice words that triggered something in the computer I was talking to."
Those few choice words prompted Apple's canned-reponse voicemail system to cut short its well-nigh interminable call-and-response support roundabout, and pop that poster directly to a flesh-and-blood tech who was able to answer his question.
As The Next Web notes, Apple is not alone in that its automated lines are programmed to detect "signs of distress," including the aforementioned F-bomb.
Whether naughty language will consistently get you to a helpful techie, or whether it will merely pop you over to a supervisor who will attempt to mollify you, only to send you back into the same ol' support loop after your steam has been released, is apparently a crap shoot.
But if you're certain that you're speaking with a machine and not an overworked, underpaid call-center drone, it's worth a try, eh?
The Reg looks forward to reading your comments after you've employed this gambit when you've found yourself languishing in voicemail limbo. ®
It pays to be nice
The tactic described here may or may not work. But I'd like to offer a counterexample. Some years back, I was having trouble with my 2007-vintage 24" iMac. First the Pioneer-built optical drive went wonky. Then a year later the Samsung-built screen developed odd shadows (probably a backlighting issue). Apple fixed these problems under my AppleCare extended warranty. But when the replacement screen began to show the same problem, I called them up again.
Now, I worked in tech support for many years, so I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of a support call. So when I need to make that call myself, I go out of my way to be calm, patient, and cheerful. I describe the problem succinctly, and when the support person asks me to go through a diagnostic sequence, I follow directions--I don't snap "I already tried that, dammit!" even if it's true. And as I run through the sequence, I give a running description of exactly what I'm seeing on the screen, so the support person can stay oriented.
Here's my point. After running through some basic tests, the support guy I was talking to said, "You know, I don't usually do this, but... you've had several problems with this machine. And I see from your file that you've been unusually helpful and cooperative in previous calls. I think we owe you a new iMac." I ended up getting a brand new 27" 2010 iMac--a major step up from my old 24" 2007 model--for free.
The moral is that if you're particularly nasty or particularly nice on a support call, Apple is likely to note that in their record of your call... and being nice can pay off big-time. Just something to think about before you start cussing out the voice-menu system.
Re: Almost anything works
Boy, the joke would have been on you if the system shot back, "In the instance of Wildebeest attack, the following steps should be taken immediately... first..."
In other news, the posts here would suggest that your best option when calling support is to hit zero three times and say "fucking agent representative!"...
Being Scottish voice recognition is a nightmare. I try to put on my best english accent, but it just wont work, init, guvner.
F-bomb... what was that? "Fix it myself" - Apple certainly wouldn't want that now, would they...