Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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waiting party line

Have people waiting for customer service talk to each other
  (+21, -1)(+21, -1)(+21, -1)
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Instead of playing music and announcements to people waiting for the next available customer service assistant to pick up their line, place them in a simple multi-caller chat.

If different people have the same complaint about a service, they can agree on a speaker to remain on the line, while the others can leave.

Waiting experts in an application-related support line may be able to solve waiting novice's problems without involving the customer support center at all, reducing waiting time for everybody while keeping themselves entertained.

jutta, Aug 22 1999

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       There's a danger that sad, lonely people would start calling these lines for companionship.
hippo, Mar 02 2000
  

       While you're waiting for Toshiba's customer service, the system lets you browse available pre-recorded FAQ answers <em>without losing your place in the queue</em>. While my problem is rarely an FAQ, at least it gives me something to do while waiting.
Eeyore, Mar 02 2000
  

       At least they could tune you to NPR or something.   

       "Wait! Put me back on hold! Garrison Keillor was just getting to the good part!" This would, of course, forfeit your place in line.   

       I think people should also be given the option, with permission of the involved parties, to listen to the questions other customers are asking. It might be the same question they called about.
centauri, Jul 25 2000
  

       I suspect that companies with, shall we say, "active" help desk lines would soon start getting a bad reputation if every time someone called in with a complaint they found themself chatting to half a dozen other pissed-off impatient punters. Soothing, pleasant music is probably best. Just NOT BLOODY VIVALDI AGAIN, ALRIGHT?
Lemon, Jul 26 2000
  

       What if you could get into line and have the operator call you back when it was your turn? That seems a whole lot easier.. you just enter a phone number into the cue. Better yet, the cue could be online (although it would be subject to a lot of spoofing, probably). You might ask for a valid product ID before accepting a phone number.
mcfrank, Aug 10 2000
  

       This will give customers excellent power over companies. Example, small ISP's used to cram alot of users in their bandwidth. When you call them complaining, the voice of the ultra sexy woman puts you on hold for 20 minutes as if asking the super expert guys they have got. Then she answers back "Sorry, you are the first one ever to complain to us with such a thing, you must have a hardware problem. Can you hold for a minute for the tech guy." Tell me can you ?
whirlpool, May 03 2001
  

       Like Eeyore said, this is the telephone version of the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Let users answer their own questions - it's cheaper.   

       Mind you, it's quicker as well. That gets a bun.
whennightfalls, Nov 25 2006
  

       Like Eeyore said, this is the telephone version of the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Let users answer their own questions - it's cheaper.   

       Mind you, it's quicker as well. That gets a bun.
whennightfalls, Nov 25 2006
  

       As long as it's an opt-in thing, Croissant!   

       There are as has been raised, dangers in allowing too many complainers to congregate, but since we, I mean they, already congregate on message boards and at the water cooler there's not much danger of increased spread of problems.
kdmurray, Nov 27 2006
  
      
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