How to talk to a real live person at AT&T, Comcast Xfinity and more

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How to talk to a real person at AT&T, Comcast Xfinity and more
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If you’ve tried to reach your cable TV provider lately, you well know that none of them seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on customer service these days. Instead of a real person, it’s much more common that you’ll engage with an automated voice that only is useful for guiding you to a pre-selected menu of common issues.

The problem with that is that you may have particular issues with your bill, technical woes or inquiries that might need to be addressed by multiple departments. So, what’s a customer to do?

Here’s how to reach a real live person at AT&T, Comcast Xfinity and other major cable providers.

Here’s how to reach a human at AT&T, Comcast Xfinity and more

AT&T

AT&T’s official customer service number is 800-331-0500 and that’s what I called to talk to a human. AT&T probably has the most robust automated voice system, and it’s hard to get around it, at least initially.

“So I can get you to the right place, can you tell me what prompted your call?” the male robo-voice said. I said that I had a problem with my bill and was asked to confirm my phone number.

That’s when it said, “Hang up and dial 611 or contact your wireless provider.” Instead, I pressed 0-0-0.

When I did that, the voice had one more question for me: “Are you calling about a previous AT&T bill?” I said yes.

That’s when it said the magic words I’d been waiting to hear: “Hang on while we connect you to an AT&T representative. For customer service, your call may be recorded.”

After a short wait, I was connected to a real person.

Wait time: 2:20 minutes

Comcast Xfinity

Comcast’s official customer service number is 800-945-2288, but I called 800-266-2278 to talk to a human. The thing about Comcast is that you have to enter a lot of personal information to get connected.

An automated male voice prompted me to verify my account by stating my partial address, which I did. Then it proceeded to play an advertisement for another service I had no interest in.

After that brief interlude, the voice told me that before it could connect me to an agent I needed to put in the last four digits of my Social Security number — or I could say “No.” I said no.

That’s when I pressed 0-0-0 and was immediately told I would be connected to an agent. Then the wait began. After a few seconds I was offered the opportunity to hang up, not lose my place in the queue and get a call back. I declined. “The hold time is approximately 15 to 20 minutes,” it said. OUCH.

Finally, after more than 30 minutes, I was connected to a real person.

Wait time: 32:39 minutes

Cox Communications

Cox’s official customer service number is 855-680-3750 and that’s what I dialed to talk to a human. When you listen to the prompts, you’ll learn you need to press 2 for billing or customer service.

You’ll also be prompted to put in your ZIP code and press 1 if you have an account. That’s when they tell you to “please wait.”

Like some other companies, Cox has a message waiting system that will send a text to your phone to connect you, if you choose to. I didn’t.

In just over 2 minutes I was talking to a real live person.

Wait time: 2:03 minutes

Spectrum/Charter Communications

Spectrum/Charter Communication’s official customer service number is 833-642-9259 and that’s what I dialed to talk to a human. When you listen to the prompts, you’ll learn you need to enter your phone number, then ZIP code.

An automated female voice asked me to “Please tell me what you’re calling about.” I had to press either 1 for technical support, 2 for billing or 3 for service changes. Instead, I hit 0 and she said, “Alright, let me transfer you to someone who can help.”

After a couple minutes, I was connected to a real human.

Wait time: 2 minutes

Do you have tips for reaching live customer service at other companies? Let us know in the comments, on Clark Howard’s Twitter or on Facebook.

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Craig Johnson is a conscious money-saver who still reads paperback books and listens to vinyl. He likes to write about how technology is making things easier and more affordable — but also sometimes more dangerous — for the modern consumer. You can reach Craig at [email protected]
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