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Call centres which put people on what appears to be terminal hold try the patience of the best of us. This telephone will remove all the mind-numbing tedium and ear-blasting muzak in a stroke.
The main functionality of the phone is to detect when a real human is on the other end of the line. This
based on a number of factors:
1) When the phone stops ringing
2) When the muzak stops playing
3) When there is a voice which is not part of the automated system
The third part would be trickiest to implement, but I'm confident that call centres use such repetitive recordings of the same not-quite-human voice that current voice-recognition technology could be trained to filter these out. When first put on hold, simply take a sample of the system's voice.
You can then walk away from the phone and it will alert you when your call is answered, allowing you to get on with your life in the meantime. If you think it may take a short while to get back to the phone you could record the first line of what you wish to say, and the phone would play this back once there's a pause in the speech on the other end of the line.
|Why this isn't baked yet is a complete mystery to me.
|When I can, I put the held line on speakerphone, which at least allows me to put down the handset and do something else (other than make another phone call, of course).
|Direct marketers' automated dialing systems detect when a live person picks up, so the technology is out there for that part.
|You people that don't answer the phone within 20 seconds with your actual voice do wonders for my call handling times.
|As I write this anno, I've been on hold for about an
with no knowing when the other side will end the hold.
I certainly had time to think up this exact Idea.
noting that the date of this Idea is 2002, I have one
slight advantage over the common phones of that era,
in that my phone is both portable and has a "speaker"
function, so I can at least set the thing down and type
this while listening to the repeating hold messages.
|Also, it occurs to me that this Idea
was written before smartphones became popular, and
therefore, very likely, it should be possible to create a
phone "app" to do the detecting of the end of a hold,
the alerting of you who activated the app.
|This has been baked for many years now. Unfortunately, as
a non-phone-user, I don't know what it's called.