With what is possibly the most welcome app to my smartphone arsenal ever comes Fast Customer, a free application for Android and iOS. What’s so great about this is the potential for it to end one of the most frustrating, and yet common, experiences of modern life: I call it the 1-800 purgatory of pain.
Let me walk you through a typical scenario: There’s a problem with your phone/tablet/cable bill/credit card charge for that Shake Weight/whatever. So you call the toll-free number and navigate 47 automated dialpad menus, only to be put on hold for half an hour. All this, just so you can talk to someone with a pulse. If you’re lucky, you get some genuine assistance. Other times, the rep just says, “Sorry, there’s nothing I can do. So … can I help you with anything else today?” (Um, you didn’t help me to begin with. And I wouldn’t want to take your valuable time. I’m sure there’s a puppy out there somewhere that needs kicking.)
But you just don’t know what you’re going to face till you get there. And now it doesn’t have to take all day.
With Fast Customer, the app places the call for you and then does all the waiting. So you’re blissfully muzak–free, without hearing “Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line” about 10 (thousand) times. You can go and live your life, and when the app gets a real person on the line, it will simply ring your phone to alert you.
This is a great idea. But admittedly, it’s not quite perfect. What the representative hears is, “Please press one for your next customer.” What if your (near-)human rep doesn’t feel like it? What if they’d rather not wait the epic 3 or 4 seconds for you to jump in? (Now wouldn’t that be ironic?) At this point, they could just decide to hang up.
Well, maybe they’ll figure out a way to get around this issue. I know I’m being optimistic here, but this app is trying to cut through the colossal time suck known as customer service. Now that’s an endeavor I would like to encourage. Plus, until they work out this issue, I get an odd sense of gratification from giving 1-800 personnel a little dialpad menu to reach me, for a change.