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Fonolo – declaring war on automated phone menus


Canadian startup Fonolo have declared war on automated phone menus, or as they call them “phone trees”. Fonolo’s proprietary investigation system spiders through all the available options in a phone menu, records all the options and turns them into a visible menu system displayed in a web browser.

To use a company phone menu you simply go to the Fonolo website, select the company phone menu you need and find the right option on the graphical menu. You then tell Fonolo what phone number you can be reached at and a couple of minutes later the phone rings connecting you to that exact point in the phone menu. That’s it! No waiting on the line and no need to press * to hear the options again. Fonolo makes the phone menu call you.

But wait, there’s more …

In order for Fonolo to work, the phone calls need to pass through their computer system. This means a whole bunch of bonus features that can make using Fonolo really easy and quite a bit of fun.


First you can bookmark any position in a phone tree as easily as you can bookmark a webpage. This way you can keep coming back to that same spot in the phone menu with just one mouse click. What’s more, as well as providing a detailed call history and the ability to make notes about your phone call, you can record and save any phone call you make through Fonolo. Best of all, everything is browser-based so you don’t need any special software or equipment and you can use Fonolo from anywhere in the world and still keep all your information with you.

The other great aspect of Fonolo is the re-humanising of the whole phone menu experience. Somewhere deep down in the phone menu there is often a person trying to help you. It doesn’t matter if that person was super-helpful or a pain in the neck, it’s near impossible to give the company any feedback. With one click you can tell Fonolo about your customer experience and they can send a copy of your conversation to the company for feedback. Surely that alone makes Fonolo worth using.

Fonolo are currently in private beta but they’re taking email addresses for the upcoming public beta trials so check out their website and video and stay tuned.

Skip the navigation. Get right to the business. Pick the company you need, scan through their phone menu visually, then just click the spot you need to call. Fonolo will automatically dial, navigate their menu and then dial your phone. When you answer, you will be connected to the right spot in the menu. We call that “Deep Dialing”. You’ll call it smart.

Tags: fonolo, deep+dialing, phone+menu+website

Dan Ferris is the Red Ferret’s Oceanic correspondent and Associate Editor based in Sydney, Australia. Despite not knowing Russell Crowe or Nicole Kidman, Dan has risen above adversity and now scours the world for interesting tidbits to write about. He spends far too much time photographing stuff and tinkering with computers.

Dan – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

1 Comment

  • My buddy works on the website and backend of fonolo so I got an early look into the service. Pretty great stuff and well overdue. I can’t imagine the phone companies who no doubt make some serious mint off of wait time are happy.

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