How Does 411 Work?

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1 Automation

411 has now become a nationwide information system. Any individual can call 411 at any time of the day or night to get a phone number. This is true on land line and cellular phones. A person dials 411 on their telephone keypad and then waits to hear the automated voice. The voice greets you and asks you to choose "1" for English or "2" for Spanish. First, the voice will ask you to say the name of the city and state of the place you are looking for. You are then asked to say the name of the person or business you want. The voice will then retrieve the phone number for you and tell you what it is.

2 Individual

There are many cases when the computer will not understand what you say. It will ask you if what it thinks you are saying is correct. If you say "No," the voice will then connect you with a live operator. You can also request an operator at any time by just saying the word "Operator." You can then communicate with a live person and tell them the place and individual you are looking for. They may ask you to spell any unusual names or places. They will find and give you the number to call.

3 Dialing

Once your information has been identified you have two options. First, you can hang up and dial the number yourself. Second, you can press 1 and the system can automatically dial the number for you. In some cases this costs extra. In other cases it is a free service. You will be told whether there are extra charges or not when the voice gives you the option of allowing it to connect you. Either way you should write the number down in your phone book so you won't have to go through the process of using 411 to find it again.

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.