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back to article Patent shields customer support from customers

A US patent granted to SNAPin details a process for spotting when a user is trying to call support, and presenting them with a self-help package rather than connecting the call. SNAPin provides operators with customer support applications - pre-installed on operator-variant handsets - to help punters use their shiny new …

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This makes far too much insane sense

I mean really. It is already impossible to get through to customer support for anything anyway so the article is exactly the sort of believable tripe that I expect from today. Press 1 to bang your head off a wall, press 2 to hear these options again. You have 5 seconds to comply.

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Paris Hilton

Just close the call centre and be done with it

Why piss about fooling no one? Just close the support centre and be done with it.

Paris, 'cos I bet she's never called a geek in her moment of need.

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but what if....

you are trying to contact supoprt to tell them the self help doesn't work?

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Too real

I worked in customer service tech for a few years. I honestly can't tell whether this is an April fool or not. It is completely believable.

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Paris Hilton

Computerise the IT Help Desk

Soon computers will take over the IT Help Desk, providing support using the very same flaws that forced us to call support in the first place, creating a continuous circle of support calls and IT generated solutions to IT problems, creating a mini-black hole that leads to the collapse of society as we know it and finally presenting me with an opportunity to sell these tins of baked beans and candles I horded for the South African elections way back in 1994.

Paris 'cause her mind is the only fully operational black hole in the galaxy.

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Had me for a second there

Not least because it is so logical.

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..the sad thing is

...I really don't know if this is a wind-up or not.

If it is, then it's the most convincing I've seen in a while.

If it isn't, then let's got break out the riot gear, and give them what they so aptly deserve.

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April Fools coming thick and fast

this is def one

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Go

Argh! Brain Hurts!

It's a believable patent.... we know how crazy the patent offices are, and we know how crazy the Yanks filing patent applications are, and we know that support centres hate it when people call them, and we know that this would be like a "silver bullet solution" for them...

But it's April First!

Argh. I can't decide without trying to check. And that defeats the fun of it all. Damn you El Reg!!!!

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No wind up, look it up on the uspto website

This link should send you straight to the patent: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=7353016.PN.&OS=PN/7353016&RS=PN/7353016

The primary claim is: "In a wireless telecommunications network, a method for providing assistance at a mobile phone, the method comprising: receiving at the mobile phone a user-input phone number indicating a request for instructions or information from a customer support agent at a call center coupled to the wireless telecommunications network; before or after placing a call to the wireless telecommunications network based on the phone number, determining that the phone number matches a particular phone number stored in the mobile phone; launching an application locally stored on the mobile phone, wherein the locally stored application provides a displayable list of local customer support functions upon detecting that the entered phone number matches the particular stored phone number; receiving a user-input selection of one of the local customer support functions on the displayed list; and providing at least one displayable screen of information in response to the received user-input selection."

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Bronze badge

Just assume EVERYTHING is a joke today...

... Unless you are absolutely sure its not. This is probably one of the better ones I have seen today, its plausable and its had a good number of people.

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Alert

Re: Had me for a second there

Alas, no joke. Quote from their website (snapin.net):

"SelfService Care is a powerful, cost-effective alternative to the IVR or Web self-service. SelfService Care intercepts customer care calls by diagnosing problems and offering a solution, all without the involvement and cost of a live care agent - saving millions every month, and a user experience that is easier and more convenient than any other method of providing customer support."

Actually, it might well be that the "user experience" is really more "convenient" than talking to a call-centre agent in some location where they are genuinely unable to speak intelligible English. Anything north of the Midlands, for example.

Some years go I had to talk to my bank (who is proud of using only British call-centres):

Agent: "kjh kjsfdl lawjfw ejl?"

Me: "Sorry, could you repeat?"

Agent: "jas lkdjsf sfldkjsdfl asldjka?"

Me: "Sorry, I still didn't get it. Could you repeat again?"

Agent: "slkdj sdlfjksdlj sdf klsjdfl sdjf?"

Me (non-committal): "Yes (?)"

Agent (angry): "NO. YOUR BIRTHDAY."

Give me Indians any day.

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Got It

I just realised April 1st is the only day you DON'T publish a continuous stream of fake stories.

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@Thorsten

You owe me a new monitor and a quarter-can of coke.

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@Thorsten

“… in some location where they are genuinely unable to speak intelligible English. Anything north of the Midlands, for example.”

Thorsten, turn your map around. You're looking at it upside-down.

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AMc

Dial and reboot?

Surely you just set the phone to reboot when you dial the support number?

At least then there's an outside chance of getting it working again.

"It looks like you're dialing an alternative mobile phone service provider, would you like me to help with that?"

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Flame

Unreal

dear editors, can you PLEASE use a particular color scheme for the article page, to designate what is, or is not, a gag?

this story lacks any obvious gag potential, and falls under the "you can't write this stuff" category, especially since IT'S TRUE.

grrr...at what point do the corporatist bastards get shot/hanged? what's it going to take? a patent on eating?

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Thank you for calling . . .

Thank you for calling the United States Strategic Air Command. Our mission is to use our multi-megaton thermonuclear deterrent to protect our nation. We can be reached from 9 AM to 2 PM Weekdays, Pacific Standard Time. Due to budget cutbacks, we regret that outside of those hours, no one will be available to take your message, so please use our answering machine or send us a fax. Alternatively, our e-mail is Armageddon1@SAC.gov.

For English, press one. For American, press two.

<American selected>

In case of nuclear attack, press one.

In case of alien invasion, press two.

Due to possible heavy call traffic, your call will be answered by the next available operator. Please be patient. All calls may be monitored for training, tracking and other security related purposes.

For all other matters and to inquire regarding customer support or about the next scheduled invasion of some third world country with proven or even rumored oil reserves, please write to SAC, post office box (classified), Area 51, Groom Lake, California 90210.

The Strategic Air Command appreciates your business.

Ask about our new instantaneous (tm) urban slum clearance special.

Have a nice day. (click)

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Alert

nope, its real

here is the proof:

http://www.google.com/search?q=US+Patent+number+7%2C353%2C016&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

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Patent #123,456,789,0 - Method of preventing unsustainably high call center costs.

Make products that work the way they are supposed to. Depends on parents 123,456,789,1 - Testing the thing before it leaves R&D, and 123,456,789,2 - Hiring of competent researchers, developers and manufacturers.

But I hear that patent is owned by some little fscker of a patent troll, which is why nobody is doing it...

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