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Hypertext phone service

Visual menus instead of voice menus
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I realize that this would require changing how phones worked, but what if there was a convenient means for text/data to be sent along with voice, over the phone?

The obvious way for this to be used would be as a replacement or supplement to voice menus for customer service. If you call the customer service number from your specially-enabled phone, you immediately see on your phone's screen the menu.

While you read it, the voice menu system would continue as usual, reading to you "For english, press 1, for spanish press 2" ... "For existing customers press 1, for new customers press 2" ... But if you can read the text faster than the prompter can read it to you, you can get to an actual customer service rep much faster than if you listened to the menus.

The obvious disadvantage of this idea is that it will only work for callers whose phones have screens on which to display info (i.e., cell phone users), but since that's becoming more and more of the populace, that's not a big convern. If the system becomes prevalent, land line users could buy a plug in screen which understands the protocol, just like there exist caller-id devices, for people who want to keep their old pre-caller-id phones, but still know who's calling.

goldbb, Jun 29 2009

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