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August 3, 2010

Lucy, You’ve Got Some Explaining to Do

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 5:14 am

Lucy, You’ve Got Some Explaining to Do

I have this "pet peeve." I don’t have to deal with it very often, thank goodness, but I did this past week.

I needed to contact a company about a software issue.  Yeah, boring, but that’s part of what I do.  I called their 800 number and guess what happened next?   Yes!  You guessed correctly, I was put on HOLD.  I was put on hold for almost 25 minutes!  I hate it when that happens…don’t you?

Later in the week I stumbled, quite by accident, onto an extremely useful program for this exact situation.  You may find it useful if you have ever waited on terminal hold for a representative at a company to answer your call.

The application is called, "LucyPhone", named after the creator’s unborn daughter-at that time.  However, she ended up with a different name.  It is really very easy to use.  Once you go to the site you have three labeled "boxes" numbered 1-3.  First, you enter the number you wish to call (toll free only) or start typing the name of the company you are looking for.  There are many companies listed and you even have the option of adding another if the one you are looking for is not listed.  Once the correct number/company has been entered, you enter your phone number so you can be called back from the company via LucyPhone.  imageTo finish, click Start and "Let Lucy set up the call between you & the company."  

I tried several numbers more than a few times, which I always do on programs I write about.  I like to make sure they do what they are supposed to before I share them with you.

I tried the first one that I had needed to contact earlier in the week.  I watched the LucyPhone website.  It shows your number, the number you are calling, the total call duration and how long you have been holding.  I later moved on to something else and forgot about the call after 10 minutes or so.  About 20 minutes later my phone rang and I was first greeted by, "Hi, it’s Lucy.  Press 1 to connect to your call."  Well that was just cool, especially since I had forgotten about it.  After pressing 1 on my phone I was talking to the rep.  Actually, I said something lame like, "Sorry, I got the wrong department", and then hung up.

I also tried LucyPhone with a toll free number which requires the number tree to be input.  You know the type; press 1 for this, 2 for that and 3 for whatever.  LucyPhone almost immediately called me back with the happy Lucy voice again and advised me to press 1 to make my selections.  It worked flawlessly.

There was only one "advertised" feature that didn’t work for me. This one says if you are put on hold again you can, " press ** to wait and be reconnected" when the person comes back, etc.  I tried that twice on the same number and was disconnected.  I was not called back.  I am not sure if this is Lucy’s fault or the fault of the company I called, but it was the only slight problem I had.

LucyPhone is currently in Beta now so we may see more changes and/or improvements. I spoke with Tom Oristain, the creator of the site and he says that after beta it will remain free; however, there may be some premium features for a small fee.

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