For Faster Service – Press 2

Isn’t it frustrating to call up a bank, or insurance, or hydro, or internet, or any other service and be put on hold for 15 min or more before actually speaking to someone? *sigh* (-_-‘) Well as it turns out there’s a really easy way to bypass the long wait times >^_^<. If you are lucky enough to be living in Canada, you probably already know that we have 2 official languages in this country; English, and French (p_-)

Large corporations and all government services must provide services in both languages. This gives consumers more options when dealing with these private companies and government agencies. So the next time you call Shaw/Telus/Rogers/or Bell to change your plan or make a complaint, just press the number to talk to a french representative. *Most people choose the English option which is why the English phone lines are always packed and you have to wait a long time before getting through to someone. In contrast, less customers use the french option, so that line is not as busy, and is often left open, just waiting for someone to call in.

cat on a phone

image source:

Don’t worry if you can’t speak le Francais. Chances are that everyone in the call center, including the representatives on the French lines, can all speak English fluently and will be happy to assist you the best way they can. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some employees work shifts for both English, and French phone lines. They were all trained to have same technical knowledge so there’s no reason they can’t answer your questions either. And you don’t have to feel bad about bypassing the lineup. Companies have to hire french speaking reps anyway, whom are usually paid by the hour whether people call in or not, so as a loyal customer, you might as well use what you helped to pay for. It also takes the load off the English language representatives who are usually swamped answering call after call…(>_<). You will also be cutting down the wait times for future callers by not becoming an additional number in the long English language queue. So everyone’s a winner, and the country is running more efficiently all thanks to you (=^・^=)

Most people – In most parts of the country, especially where I live (Western Canada) hardly anybody speaks french in public. But in other provinces, especially Quebec, more french is spoken than English, so depending on where you live, your mileage may vary. If you happen to have another phone near by, try calling both language lines and just use whichever one gets through first (^_^)

And lastly, the only reason this loophole exists is because not a lot of people know about it. So lets try to keep it that way and make this our little secret (^_~)

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
02/09/2012 3:15 pm

I speak the FRANCAIS and whenever I call customer service, I go with the English to:

1) It give me the chance to practice my English;
2) Get a faster service
2) Get a BETTER service

Quebeckers are absolutely horrible at customer service. But hey, I am a New Brunswicker, nevermind Quebecker, I speak le FRANCAIS and ENGLISH, straight to the English line baby 🙂

02/09/2012 3:28 pm
Reply to  Sunny

Thanks for sharing your thoughts D-girl. It’s nice to get a unique perspective from someone who has lived in both Quebec and New Brunswick (^_^) I wish I had paid closer attention to french class in highschool so I could speak both languages like you.

07/03/2012 3:20 am

Have you tried this successfully yet? I’ve heard someone try it in my presence and it was clear the customer service rep was not willing to let her switch to English on the French line. Luckily, the caller did speak French (not as fluently as English, but well enough to ask her question). So I’m not sure your technique always works. I’m also not sure there are customer service reps on standby working a shift of only French calls. Like you say, they are probably bilingual in many cases, and taking English-language calls along with the other reps but designated to take any French calls that come in. So your argument about using the staff whose there anyway also may not stand up.

I’d love to hear more details about people using this technique successfully (i.e. actually bypassing a line up of callers and being able to proceed in English).

07/03/2012 9:58 pm
Reply to  Dee

I’d like to hear more about different people’s experiences too :). My friend tried this with Shaw (a cable/phone service company) and she said she was able to get serviced in English despite getting through to their French line. But I’ve never tried it myself. I thought the worst case scenario would be for the customer service rep to put the caller on hold and transfer them to the English line, because sometimes people make mistakes and push the wrong button. I’ve called the wrong department at several companies before (automated speech can be confusing sometimes,) but they always just transferred me to the correct department or at least someone else who could help me. Maybe it’s different for language selection? or just depends on the representative you get. Or maybe they found out about this vulnerability and are on to us (O_o)

Kelly @CouponCrazyK
Kelly @CouponCrazyK
12/03/2012 11:19 am

I’m a bilingual QCer, but I prefer to work in English. The few times I have ended up on the French lines, I either speak French to them or if I switch to English, I am immediately transferred. They’re very unhelpful when not working in the language of *their* choice.