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July 24, 2010

Do you hate being put on hold?

Is it because of the really lame music that you often have to listen to when you are? Or just the fact that you're either tied to your phone during the interminable wait or you have to put it on speaker-phone just so you can move around your house?

There's an app for that!

Was just catching up on my blog-reading this morning and this post jumped out at me.

There is a new web-service and iPhone app called Lucy, which will end the tedium of being on hold forever! No, it won't connect you any faster to a real, live human being. But it will allow you to get on with the 1000 other things you have to do, which you can't do when you're on hold.

Basically, Lucy will "take a number" and wait in line for you. Available on the web and as an iPhone app, you basically put the number you are dialing into the Lucy service (or choose from a large pool of numbers if you're on an iPhone). Give Lucy the number you want to be called back at. Lucy then connects you to that number. Go through the process until you get put on hold, and then hit "**"

Your call will be ended, but Lucy will then call you back when an operator is ready to talk to you. If you get put on hold again, just do the same thing. This way, you are free to move around the house and not be tied to your phone.

"While the app can be used from your web browser (you’ll get a phone call connecting you to the number you want to reach), we love using the iPhone app because it has a built-in directory of phone numbers. From banks to insurance companies to consumer electronics vendors, you can select from the list of numbers rather than trying to scour the Internet or your product manuals."

I admit that I have not used this app, but the reason I'm writing about it is because it's such a cool concept! I haven't actually had to make one of these phone calls in a little while, so have had no use for it. That may change, however.

The iPhone ratings aren't good for this app, for some reason. Sadly, none of the 1-star ratings actually left a review to say why they didn't like it. If I do end up giving it a try, I will update this post.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

1) As far as I can tell, it only works with toll-free numbers, unless the number's in the iPhone Lucy directory (which may also be all toll-free ones). I think this covers most of the irritating "long-time on hold" numbers, though.

2) You should probably have your phone handy when you're using this service. According to the Lucy web site, Call Centre employees are told when the customer is using "Lucy" and then asked to press "1" to connect. Doing this is what prompts the call to you. The web site makes it sound so quick and easy, but if you're all the way across the room when your phone rings, that might be a problem! Call Centre employees' time is valuable too, you know.

According to Mashable, this is only available in the US and Canada right now, but they do hope to take it truly international soon.

This is such a cool idea that I hope it works out well in practice. Mashable really likes it. Six iTunes raters hate it.

I guess it's up to us to make the call.

And not get put on hold.

Edit: Funnily enough, when I went onto the Apps Store on the iPhone, there were a bunch of reviews/ratings for it! Not sure why that wasn't reflected in iTunes. It's got an overall 3.5 rating and lots of good reviews, along with some bad ones as well.

Edit #2: Ok, got it. The Canadian Apps Store only has 9 ratings. The US one has much more.

5 comments:

  1. WOW!! Technology has gone so..high tech. I don't have an iPhone. But you can bet that if I did, me and Lucy would be best pals..There are calls I have to make on behalf of my son, and most times, it to the people that make me wait and wait.

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  2. You can still use the web site! You don't have to have an iPhone app for it.

    I have a feeling you'll have a use for it before I do. :)

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  3. This is so neat! It would have come in handy on Sunday when my friend & I were trying to get the iPhone she gave me to work. We were on hold for over 10 minutes. And we had to call twice, so let's say we were on hold for a total of 30 minutes or more!

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  4. Ah, the perils of not keeping up with blogging! :P

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