Customer service goes high-tech

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(SWEEPS FEED)- When you think about things you dread, how high on your list is waiting “on hold” with customer service? Or how about dealing with a phone maze of automated voice prompts?

A recent survey found many people just hang up in frustration, but new, high tech assistance is popping up to help.

Cara Maltz dreaded the thought of being stuck on hold with the cable company, “I get really aggravated.”

So, instead, she decided to try this app, called Owner Listens.

Maltz just looked up the company she was trying to reach and typed in her question. The app contacts businesses, relays customer messages and zaps their responses back to user’s phones.

“Within two hours I got back a response, directly from the cable company. It was a long message that listed all of the details, answering all that I had asked.”

Not waiting on hold to get answers is what experts say is contributing to a growing number of similar apps and websites.

“The future of customer service is everything at your fingertips. People want things to be immediate,” said Adi Bittan with the Owner Listens app.

Apps like Get Human, for example, can show you the most “immediate” way to work through a company’s automated phone maze to reach a live person.

For those times you can’t get that live person, the Lucy phone app waits on hold for you and calls you back when the company answers.

Even some big name businesses are using apps to communicate with customers. You can “instant message” some companies through Facebook’s messenger app.

“The days of consumers getting all their problems taken care of by sitting on hold with a company are quickly fading,” said John Breyault with the National Consumers League.

Consumer watchdogs say these apps can certainly help ease phone frustration- but like any other app you download, check out their ratings and privacy policies.

“Familiarize yourself with how this app will make money off the information that you provide and then decide whether or not it’s an app that you feel comfortable using,” Breyault said.

Maltz says she was comfortable using the app and got answers quickly, “It was the best experience I have had when it has come to customer service, it felt fulfilling for me.”

Other apps we found, like the Best Buy app, let shoppers call, text or email a customer service rep while they’re in the store.

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