Cut to the chase when calling companies with Dial Zero Android app

by Caitlin M. Foyt

Dial Zero for your Android phone will come in handy the next time you need to call a customer service number. This clever app is designed to allow you to bypass the annoying voice prompts and get to a live, human specialist — and it actually works pretty well, too.

The way Dial Zero works is that it has a database of more than 600 companies, listing the information of exactly which keystrokes or phrases you can say that will immediately put you in touch with a real customer service representative.

When you launch the app, you're immediately brought inside of a tab that allows you to scour through all of the listed companies or organizations, everything from insurance agencies to your favorite chain stores. Some examples of listed corporations include Fisher-Price, American Airlines, Comcast, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

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When you click on one of these names, you're brought to a page where you can see tips of exactly which button-pushing scheme or particular phrase helped someone else to successfully get a person in the past. I spent some time clicking around on this alphabetical list, and I was quickly impressed by how helpful it was. For instance, if you need to get in touch with the people over at PayPal and want to skip the whole repeat-yourself-over-and-over-again-to-a-robot-who-will-never-understand-that-you're-saying-YES-and-not-NO mumbo jumbo, you repeat the word "agent" three times. To get through to Allstate, press the "*" button at each prompt, completely ignoring the commands you're given. To talk to an actual person at Johnson & Johnson, you press "0."

From this same page, you can also click on the listed phone number to dial the company straight from the application.

One thing in particular I don't like about Dial Zero, however, is the fact that you must sometimes sift through a whole bunch of comments before you find a helpful answer. Even more irritating, these responses don't seem to be moderated at all, and so a lot of rude and inappropriate discussion seems to pop up. Many of these comments have nothing to do with the app at all.

Another downside is the fact that this app is often very slow to load pages for individual companies, sometimes taking as long as a few minutes.

Despite these flaws, Dial Zero is worth downloading and checking out. Not only is it free, but it could save you some valuable time.