It’s no fun calling a company’s customer service number, only to hear an automated voice rattle off a long list of options-- press “one” for sales, press “two” for repairs, press “three” for anger management.
Now Zappix Inc. of Burlington is slashing through the audio clutter, with a smartphone app that can automatically choose the correct option. The Zappix app, available at no charge for Apple Inc.’s iPhone or smartphones running Google Inc.’s Android operating system, is pre-programmed with the correct dialing codes for hundreds of major businesses and government agencies. For example, a user who subscribes to cable TV provider Comcast Corp. can touch the company name, to see a menu of customer service options. They’re exactly the same options you’d hear when dialing the company, but Zappix lets you race through them by touching the screen. When you get to the option you want, Zappix dials the number, then works its way through the audio menu based on your choices. Zappix can also take users directly to the Comcast website, if that’s the fastest way to resolve a problem.
Gal Steinberg, Zappix’ vice president of marketing, said that his company wants to work closely with consumer-oriented businesses to make sure that their automated phone software communicates accurately with the Zappix app. Steinberg also said that Zappix plans to someday earn a profit by selling premium services to businesses. For instance, a utility company might do a deal to connect Zappix to its billing system, so that a Zappix user could pay his light or gas bill directly through the app. Or Zappix could automatically notify a cable TV subscriber about a service outage in the neighborhood. And of course, Zappix could earn money by displaying advertisements on the smartphone’s screen while the user’s waiting on hold. Of course, that could be just as annoying as an automated phone menu.