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3 On Your Side: High Tech Customer Service Assistance

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- How do you like waiting "on hold" with customer service?  Or dealing with a phone maze of automated voice prompts?  As 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan finds, a recent survey shows many people just hang up in frustration.

But there may be a solution!  More and more these days high tech assistance is popping up to help you, "get help!"

Instead of being stuck on hold with the cable company, Cara Maltz decided to try an app, called "Owner Listens."

She just looked up the company she was trying to reach and typed in her question.  The app contacts businesses, relays customer messages and zaps their responses back to user's phones.

"Within two hours I got back a response, directly from the cable company. It was a long message that listed all of the details, answering all that I had asked," said Maltz.

Not waiting on hold to get answers is what experts say is contributing to a growing number of similar apps and websites.

Apps like Get Human can show you the most "immediate" way to work through a company's automated phone maze to reach a live person.

For those times you can't get that live person, the Lucy phone app waits on hold for you and calls you back when the company answers.

Many businesses are using apps to communicate with customers.

You can send an instant message to some companies through Facebook's messenger app.

The Home Depot app offers a live chat option with customer service.

Nordstrom's website does too and its app lets you tweet with a customer service agent.

"The days of consumers getting all their problems taken care of by sitting on hold with a company are quickly fading," said John Breyault with the National Consumers League.

Other apps, like the Best Buy app, let shoppers call, text or email a customer service rep while they're in the store.

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