A former IT manager has been hailed as a hero after launching a website listing thousands of call centre menu sequences to save customers the time and anguish of navigating the automated services.
Nigel Clarke, 53, from Kent, set up pleasepress1.com after “my small personal frustration hobby (grew) into a passionate personal campaign to which I have dedicated a lot of time and thought,” he said on the website.
The site is a directory of complete number sequences which users can press at the start of calls to avoid having to face a long list of options later.
“It’s one of life’s little miseries — calling your service provider to sort out a problem. Whether it’s your gas bill, home insurance, or mobile phone, none of us are exempt from that feeling of frustration when all you want is to speak to an expert, and the first voice you hear is a robot, reeling you through a seemingly endless list of mechanical options,” Clarke added.
“What’s more disconcerting is that you may actually be paying a small fortune to listen to that robot without realising.”
Clarke has made more than 12,000 calls while mapping the automated lines, some with as many as ten menu levels and 100 options to choose from.
He eventually left his job last year to focus on the site, he told the Daily Telegraph.
“A modern day hero,” tweeted Stefano Hatfield, editor of the i newspaper, echoing the thoughts of many on social media.
The site — funded from Clarke’s own money, with plans to add advertising — will also campaign for more user-friendly phone systems and for companies to publish their menu options online.