Kramer was the originator of “Hold Please“… if only Twilio had existed then…
Hold Please… Why can’t we all have our own automated call center?
The Problem: One of life’s great injustices is that companies make us navigate complicated and highly annoying phone trees, sometimes for hours. Then, when a company calls you, they expect an immediate response. With companies adopting automated customer service at a quickening pace, this system will remain frustrating until supercomputers develop empathy along with intelligence.
The Product: Introducing… “Hold Please”. A lot like the original Grand Central (now Google Voice), for just $10 a month you get a new phone number which you can give out as your “number” to service providers, Comcast, political campaigns, collection agents, creeps in the club, et. al..
When a company calls you, they get a taste of their own medicine:
Hold Please: “Please press 1 if you are a telemarketer. Press 2 if you are looking for money. Press 3 if we met while drunk the other night. Press 4 if I could already be a winner… Your approximate wait time is 70 minutes.”
…Wait there’s more: Additional features include
- call queuing - You give the service your calendar and the hold time is based on when you are next free
- call scheduling - If both parties are using “Hold Please”
- human operators - To manage small tasks rather than bothering you
- a spam option - The service learns which callers are especially annoying and blocks them for all users of “Hold Please”
Implementation: This service would be a snap to setup with the Twilio API:
<Say>Twilio can speak text this easily.</Say>
<Say voice=”man”>It can sound like a man.</Say>
<Say voice=”woman” language=”en-gb”>Or a lady with a British accent.</Say>
<Say language=”es”>O en espanol.</Say>
Idea credit: Sam Lessin
Don’t waste your valuable time. Ask the hard questions early.
Guest Post: Facebook needs to serve ads better
I was going to the flower shop the other day to get a rose for my significant other. Wondering if there was a better way for the local flower shop to market their product.
In targeted advertising is there an ability to create an ad for (in this case ordering flowers) that can show up as an ad or sponsored story only for people who 1) have an upcoming anniversary? 2) the person they are listed in a relationship with has an upcoming birthday?
Such targeted marketing could be highly valuable to florists or local jewelers along with the nations chains i.e. 1800flowers.com.
Facebook has been much maligned for serving ads that seem almost invasive into people’s personal lives. Rather than hope for an algorithm to solve our problems, what we really need is a better way to help one another.
For example, group gifting sites are one step toward helping one another get that perfect present for family and friends without having to bear the entire cost ourselves.
Facebook can help, but we can’t rely on it entirely.
Here are those binary beats I remember so well.
Source: SoundCloud / windytan
We need a Miss Manners 2.0 to provide digital decorum guidelines
This idea has been in the hopper for some time, and it looks like the NYTimes has beaten me to the topic today.
Not only do people not know how long is an acceptable wait for returning an email or sms, a large number of people still don’t know an better than to send lewd pictures of themselves to the wrong people or litter facebook with bombastic political rants.
We need a publication (ideally a wiki of sorts) to codify - in constantly evolving fashion - proper behavior for interacting with one another in person and online in the 21st century.
How much time can you legitimately spend looking at or typing into your mobile device while in a meeting or at dinner with one, two or more people? How can one gracefully weigh in on an online message board? What is and is not a legitimate first message on OKCupid?
I aspire to be courteous as well as connected, but those two interests seem further and further apart with each app and iOS update. Can someone please help everyone be just a little bit better about drawing the line between acceptable and egregious behavior? We will all be grateful!