The Best Timesavers in Life are Free (and Invisible)

June 29, 2007

The “Invisible Web” is that vast amount of online information about which your favorite search engine just says, “Huh?” Beyond the “Invisible Web,” however, there’s an even bigger invisible world of web sites and services that you’d just simply never know to ask about in the first place.


Click here to see a short video about GetHuman.com but don’t forget to read the rest of the article!

How would you ever know to ask for GetHuman.com – an online phone timesaver that is not only free, but superbly effective?

I used GetHuman.com again just this past week. It made me wonder, “How did I ever live without these guys?”

Here’s what happened. I needed to call MetLife, the insurance company. However, their phone system seems designed to do just about everything – except let you talk to a real person. Does that sound familiar?

So, I remembered GetHuman.com, found MetLife’s listing and sure enough had a real person on the line in seconds.

How? This is not a pretty site. By that I mean GetHuman.com doesn’t have pictures and flying porpoises and pop-up ads. All it has, really, is a list of companies, their 1-800 numbers and the “cheats” that allow you to talk directly to a human being.

The cheats are pretty simple:

Press “2”
Say “agent” at each prompt, until offered a representative; say “yes”
Press 33; at prompt press 2; at prompt press 2.
Press “5” then press “3”

How the heck do they know about all these different combinations? In some cases employees inside the company have spilled the beans. In other cases, they’ve done years of scientific research (well, maybe just tons of phone calls to make sure their information is accurate, but you get the idea).

Seriously, though, I was pulling my hair out last week until I remembered Paul English’s pet project – the GetHuman database. He’s just as fed up with the state of customer service in the world as you are, but he’s done something about it.

Here’s what the GetHuman listing looked like for my insurance provider:

MetLife 1-800-560-5001 Press ####

Once I hit ####, I was quickly connected to a wonderfully helpful real person who resolved my problem quickly and efficiently. (I know, that sentence just doesn’t seem to ring true, but it really did happen!).

Recently a participant in one of our workshops who didn’t even own a computer benefitted from GetHuman. Believe it or not, her bank just happened to be listed on the PowerPoint slide we showed at the front of the room. She quickly jotted down the 1-800 number, along with accompanying phone “cheat” – and told us later she was able to resolve a duplicate account problem that had simmered for years.

And this morning we got an email from NSA speaker John Marx:

By the way, I think I told you that the day I received 2400 Spam emails I was having a hard time reaching anyone at Earthlink thru their website, live-chat, fraud department, etc.

I was getting increasingly agitated but remembered your suggestion about GetHuman.com from one of your workshops. Using it, I was able to get right to a real human at Earthlink, who solved my problem right away.

Seems impossible, but try it the next time you are stuck in phone hell. And thank you, Paul English, for this stunning volunteer created and volunteer run web resource. You’re one of the good guys.

Note: To learn more – click here to see our video about GetHuman.com.


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