I read the Consumerist regularly. Its a great consumer advocacy site, and has interesting articles and finds mixed in with some gut wrenching horror stories.
When I read this post on Fonolo my interest peaked. They’re offering a solution for a problem that everyone hates: IVRs, or Interactive Voice Response Systems.
The only thing more annoying and cumbersome than phone books is navigating automated phone systems. When I call an airline, credit card, or major company it eats up so much time I usually end up spacing out and forgetting the prompts by the time I need to enter them. I despise the turtle like pace when punching in info like zip codes and such, and then having it read back to me to confirm. (I try and hit # to move on, but it ends up needing a 1 or something, sending me back to the original menu.) Yes I’m quite impatient when it comes to this. Gethuman.com is a good resource for reaching live CSRs, but Fonolo plans to rocket it into this century.
Fonolo is bringing a VISUAL approach to the archaic 1980s phone customer service technology we suffer with daily. Fonolo will feature visible phone “trees” for a specific company. For example if you’re calling United Airlines and need to “Book International with Miles” you simply click through the tree, (instead of dealing with the many, many voice prompts leading you there.) Then through their method of “deep dialing,” the site dials for you, immediately connecting you with that “branch.”
An added bonus: Utilizing their site you can take personal notes and RECORD CALLS! While various states laws apply regarding the admissibility of calls for court cases, it still gives YOU some concrete documentation for dealing with a company that might shift answers and policies with you.
The service will be free, offset by advertising. I can’t wait for this to go live, and wish them the best. It will definitely be in my bookmarks.
They’re at Fonolo.com. If this sounds appealing you can watch a demo too. Its pretty interesting watching him explain the concept and creation.