Swearing at your phone gets you better customer service in America

It works, we swear

In your lifetime you’ve almost certainly spent time on the phone to the bank, or a cinema, or another kind of service that uses a technology called ‘Interactive Voice Response’ or ‘Private Branch Exchange’. This is the thing where you’re told to say a word, or dial a number on your phone’s keypad, in order to navigate your way through an automated menu system. Sometimes it doesn’t work, or you’re directed through about five different stages before being put on hold – and if you’re in a hurry you might want to scream.

It turns out screaming is actually the best way to get past some of these menus. According to Twitter user @annebot there’s a patented system that gauges a user’s mood, and if their mood is especially bad, it’ll direct them straight to a human call handler.


According to her, swearing or saying ‘operator’ connects you automatically with an operator.

And if you’re not in the mood to swear, you can also just say ‘human’ or ‘agent’.

Unfortunately, according to several users, the trick only works in the USA – not in the UK, as this Twitter user found:


Hard to believe, sure, but it turns out Britain needs to up its game in the profanity-based service stakes.

You May Like