Monday 4 July 2016

Stop waiting on hold!

I don't know anyone who hasn't had a frustrating customer service experience with their cable company, internet provider, or cell phone provider. Add to it trying to deal with an airline (I'm talking to you Air Canada) or a credit card company and we can easily spend significant time on hold. It's part of life these days.

One of the most frustrating aspects of getting support is being placed in long hold queues while you have to listen to a recorded message telling you how important your call is to the company and to please wait for the next available agent.

Some companies have implemented a system which lets you enter your phone number and promises to have an agent call you back. I tried this twice with Rogers and no one called either time, so I wound up back in the hold queue for half an hour waiting to reach a person.

It is beyond frustrating, but what if there was a way to flip it around?

Well there is. There are now several free apps that will sit on hold for you and call you once they reach a n actual person.

First up is Fastcustomer. With Fastcustomer you just fire up the app, select the company from a constantly growing list (Over 3000 so far) and let it do the waiting for you. Fastcustomer lets you select the division you are trying to reach so you don't get bumped from queue to queue.

When I type in "Rogers" I get a pick list allowing me to choose between Cable TV, Home Phone, Internet tech support, generic customer service, Rogers Telephone (I assume this is for cellular but haven't tried it yet), and Rogers Telecom. (I'm not sure what you'd use this one for.).

Fastcustomer promises to navigate the company phone tree and get in to the correct queue, then do the waiting for you, calling you once a human being has been reached and connecting you.

The app also tells you if a company's call centre is currently closed or not. At least you don't waste time waiting for a pick-up that's never coming.

You can see a video from the company here.

Next up we have Lucyphone. This app takes a slightly different approach, with Lucy you call the company and navigate the phone tree. Once you get placed on hold you simply enter ** and Lucy takes over. Once a person picks up you receive a call connecting you to the agent.

Lucyphone does have a pre-populated list of companies, and when I typed in "Rogers" I got a pop-up pick list with selections for Cable, Smartphone, Prepaid, Telephone, Wireless, and Corp Sales & Service.

Both apps are free on Android and iPhone. Hopefully they will save you the aggravation of having a phone glued to your head listening to bad hold music and automated voices telling you how important your call is.

Let's face it, if your call was that important to the company they wouldn't make it so difficult to reach someone. Time to turn that dynamic around.

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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