As a member of the e-Commerce team I get to work with several other departments that are customer facing to improve processes and aid in a better customer experience through the web. One department I have worked with heavily is the Call Center. Now, anyone who has ever tried to call a large company has experienced the labyrinthine touch-tone menu (calling tree) most employ. While I can’t offer you immediate satisfaction in knowing that the 1st Mariner touch-tone menu is perfect – we are working on it as I type this – I can offer you some help from a Canadian startup called Fonolo.com that allows users to avoid those phone menus altogether.
Shai Berger is the co-founder and CEO of Fonolo. He debuts Fonolo in a talk "Mapping Phonespace" at the Emerging Communications (eComm) conference.
Fonolo works by using transcriptions of the phone menus of large companies so you can navigate them visually. You simply pick the company you need to call, scan through the company’s phone menu visually, and then click the spot you need. Fonolo will automatically dial, navigate the menu and then dial your phone. When you answer, you will be immediately connected to the right spot in the menu – this is also known as Deep Dialing.
A major benefit of Fonolo is the ability to maintain an “intelligent call history” where you can keep track of calls and conversations during a dispute. This includes storing text notes and saving recordings of each call. According to the company, transcriptions are coming soon.
The system is free and can be used on any phone, with no software to install. Fonolo will remain in limited use beta testing until September, 08 and there is no word on how far it’s geographically reach will be.