If your friends made you talk to a robot and wait five minutes every time you called them, they’d stop being your friend and you’d stop calling them. The only person who can make those close to him run a gauntlet of machines and drones to have a conversation is Darth Vader. A business which makes you listen to every option in their switchboard before even allowing you to wait on hold is simply flaunting how much they don’t care about you.
The acid-test is Zero Mashing: hammer the 0 key to overload the automated switchboard. If you get through to a human the company was simply stupid and thoughtless in wasting your time. If you’re told “THAT IS NOT A VALID EXTENSION,” the company genuinely views customers as annoying distractions from all their money. So it’s just as well we’ve got a new company fighting on our side. Enter FastCustomer.
FastCustomer fights computers with computers, automating the entire dialing experience. If your cable company uses computers to make people wait, FastCustomer sends more computers to go wait at them and call you when a human answers. It’s almost like computers and phones were designed to help people do more things faster, instead of leaving them listening to horribly mangled versions of classic songs.
Some smart folks have tried this before, but online archives of “how to get a human” instructions are a cure worse than the problem — loading up the page and searching for the company is time-consuming, and no matter how well-intentioned, the page is inevitably out of date. That’s why FastCustomer keeps things computerized: iPhone and Android apps, text messaged instructions, or even a Chrome extension. That last one is absolutely fantastic — instead of searching through layered “contact us” pages designed to make you send a mail and go away while you’re searching for a phone number, the FastCompany icon turns blue if they have a number. Just press a button and the company will call you. You know, just like they should have been doing if they genuinely wanted to help instead of treating all customer interactions as bothersome tidying up.
The best bit? Free. Forever. Some smart companies understand that FastCustomer is helping them, and the more we use it, the more companies will learn. To see a demonstration, check out this YouTube video:
Image credit: iStockphoto / Yuri_Arcurs