Sick of Waiting on Hold? This App Does it For You

Last Updated Jun 15, 2011 10:01 AM EDT

Waiting on hold sucks, but sometimes it's necessary -- like when you need tech support from your computer vendor or a live service rep at your airline.

Sure, you can put your phone on speaker, but then you have to listen to interminable hold music and infuriating "Your call is important to us" messages. And let's not forget the drain on your phone's battery. There must be a better way.

There is now: iOS app Fast Customer waits on hold so you don't have to. Just choose the company you want to call, then go about your business. When a live human finally gets on the line, Fast Customer calls you back and connects you.

The app works with hundreds of companies, from Adobe Systems and Dell Tech Support to Mastercard and Xerox. And it can call you back at whatever number you want (i.e., it doesn't have to be your iPhone).

Most of the time I spend on hold is with Comcast, so I was dismayed to find it wasn't on Fast Customer's list. However, it takes just two taps to request the addition of an unlisted company, a nice little perk. I don't know if Comcast will actually get added, but it's nice to see the developer encouraging user feedback right inside the app.

Fast Customer used to cost a buck, but now it's absolutely free. Thus, it's a no-brainer for business users. Grab it for whatever iOS device you own, then use it to cut your hold times to zero.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.