Bypass Company Phone Menus with Fonolo

Some hassles arise from your PC, and some you solve with your PC. This one falls in the latter category.

If you've ever called a company--an airline, a cable provider, a telco, etc.--you know what a pain it can be to navigate their touch-tone menus. "Press 1 for English. Press 2 for the Billing Department. Press 7 for Account Changes. Press 4 if you've decided to give up." And so on. Surely your time could be better spent than wading through a bunch of menus just to reach a live human.

Fonolo does the wading for you. In other words, it helps you bypass companies' automated phone trees. Just search for the company you want to call (Comcast, Dell, TiVo, etc.), then choose from the available menu options: Main Menu, Technical Support, etc.

Next, you enter your phone number. Fonolo places the call on your behalf, navigates you to the selected destination (which it refers to as "deep dialing"), then calls you to establish the connection. Easy-peasy.

There are other perks as well. By signing up for a free account, you can have Fonolo automatically enter your account number(s) and create a detailed call history, complete with notes and even a recording of each call.

Alas, the service doesn't always save you a lot of time. With Comcast, for example, the best Fonolo can do is land you at the main phone-tree menu. Still, it saves you the trouble of having to look up the company's phone number on your own, and the call history/recording features could come in very handy if you're trying to resolve a product or service problem.

You don't have to be tied to your PC to use it, either; there's also a free Fonolo app for iOS.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums.

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