Connect from Crowded Road Hits and Misses

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connect iphone appConnect - Having to make a telephone call to some couldn't-care-less corporate entity makes me think of poor old Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day, forced to relive each day over and over. Hell is not other people; hell is having to find a real live person to talk to at a ginormous company.

Connect, from Crowded Road is an iPhone database containing the toll-free numbers of major departments in the nation's top 1,000 best-known companies.

Scroll through the lengthy list of company names, tap the one you want, and you'll get a screen with the option of automatically connecting to an operator or manually dialing the iPhone.

Tapping the "Connect to Operator" button automatically dials the number and once connected, the app emits a series of tones that correspond to things like "For English, press 1, for sales, press 2 etc.

Not every number has the auto-dial option, however. In instances where you must manually dial the phone, you'll see a line or two of instructions such as "Press 0 at each prompt; ignore invalid response."

I tried Connect for a few companies and it worked so-so.

I called the Boston Globe and was transferred to customer service, which was what I was aiming for.

When I dialed Apple I was eventually connected to someone in tech support. I was aiming for someone in sales.

When I dialed Sears, I received a voice-recognition system that instructed me to speak the name of the department I wished to connect to or press a corresponding number on the iPhone key pad. I waited to see what department I would eventually arrive at but the machine just kept yapping that it didn't understand me.

Finally, I tried to reach Saturn but neither one of the connect buttons worked. I don't know what to make of that. I tried it, went off to other numbers, and returned to Saturn and the buttons still wouldn't work.

Connect is not a bad idea but its implementation is flawed. I suppose some people might find it useful as a directory of toll-free numbers to the Fortune 1000 (plus some in the U.K.).

I think I'll stick to jabbing 0 several times in a row when I call AT&T, GM, AIG and IBM. That often gets me to an operator.

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This app is not currently available in the App Store.

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