FastCustomer Uses Twilio’s Voice API to Make Short Work of Waiting on Hold

Millions of people are on hold right now. Southwest Airlines alone handles 110,000 calls a day. On one side of these calls is an army of machines, and on the other side are people wasting their time waiting until an operator is ready. FastCustomer decided to do something about it. Why not have the machines talk to the machines and the humans talk to the humans? With the help of Twilio’s Voice API, FastCustomer created a system that does the waiting for you. Simply tell it which company you want to talk to, and FastCustomer will give you a call when it has someone from the company on the line. (The FastCustomer system has already spent over 92,000 minutes on hold on behalf of its users!) Here’s what Aaron, one of the founders of FastCustomer, had to say:

How did you decide what to build your application? What problem were you trying to solve?

Aaron was on the phone with Comcast, and it was taking forever. Realizing that this was a problem for everyone, he started wondering if technology could solve it.

Millions of customers sit on hold every day, wasting their time as they wait for another person to be ready to take their call. What if a computer could do everything for them, and we just get the humans involved when everyone’s ready?

How long did it take to build your voice app, and what technologies did you use?

First basic prototype built in an afternoon, though the algorithms have gotten much more complex since then.

Fast Customer is built on Rails, MySQL, Apache, Passenger and we serve it from Rackspace Cloud.

What are your plans going forward?

People can use Fast Customer for free right from the site, but we’re interested in rolling out Android and other versions of the iPhone app to make it easier to reach a person with 1-click on any device.

If you had all the time in the world, what would you build with Twilio?

All the time in the world? An artificial intelligence bot that would do the talking for you too, so you just click “Solve Problem” and we take it from there. :)

Watch FastCustomer in action in the video below.