« Getting to know you | If you’re in the cloud you really need a parachute »

Call List Manager – an app waiting to be born

I searched the app store recently for an app I was sure someone had come up with. But alas, no one had. So I thought I’d throw it out there in the hopes that someone wanted to take it on.

Like many people I maintain a “to call” list. I do a lot of work over email, but I’m also on the phone anywhere between 5 and 12 hours a day and at any given moment I have a healthy list of people to get back to. I’ve tried different ways of managing this list – from putting them in as calendar reminders (works to create the list, but it’s not persistent enough) to using tasks (this has been the best option, although still lacking) to writing myself emails with lists of people I need to call back (this works for specific situations, but I need to refresh the email once I’ve actually connected with a portion of my list; plus its kluge). Add to this that I’m often running through calls while driving, which brings with it its own challenges of accessing these lists and their associated numbers (and what if I need to remind myself of context and have to look through emails or a calendar entry to find it?). Like everyone reading this, I’m an above average driver, but despite that it’s still not the best way to work while getting from point to point.

My app idea is pretty simple – a Call List Manager application (ideas on a better name?). There’d be a web version of it as well which would connect to the app and let me input people, numbers and context that would load to the phone app (and vice versa so I could use the web app for calls while at my desk). I could easily add people to the call list, assign a priority level, the number I needed to call them on and any other information I thought might be helpful at the time of the call. I’d connect the calls from within the app itself and once done with the click of a button should be able to mark the call as complete, tag for followup (with notes if I felt like it), or mark it to try back later or forward to another Call List Manager user to add to their call list.

Someone was telling me about a service like this (I think it was an idea, not a product yet), but the way it was describe to me – which admittedly was 3rd or 4th hand – didn’t fulfill the most basic “management” of the list that I was looking for.

What do you think? Any app developers out there want to take it on? (I’m in iPhone user, so that would be my first choice of platforms!)

May 12th, 2011     Categories: Uncategorized     Tags: , ,
  • http://www.facebook.com/jstreebin Jarrett Streebin

    Love it. everyone has focused on task management apps but a “to call” app could be awesome. Also, if it had push notifications for when a call ended “now call: ….!” n

    • Rachel Lewis

      Hello all,

      Has anything else come out yet that’s more along the lines of the original author? Very interested in an app for iPhone that could be used by my secretary to add contacts and pertinent info on that contact to my schedule for me to then call… and while we’re wishing… that I could just click on the number, have my call, then after my call, I could then attach a voice note with new relevant details that would then be sent back to my secretary for her to act on :)

      Anyone?

      • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

        Rachel – I’ve been using an iPhone app called “Call List”. It’s a big buggy, and very basic, but works passably for what I was describing (lets my assistant enter calls into a web app that syncs to an app on my phone from which I can dial through the list when I have some available time). If you search for Call List you’ll find it in the app store.

        seth

        • Chief

          Seth there was an app called iDial u Drive which used to work amazingly well. Since the last few iOS updates, it is less automated than it was before. see http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/idialudrive/id288947187?mt=8. I am also desperate for a solution. Please advise if you find one.

          • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

            Thanks. This app looks pretty close to the one I was using (somewhere in this post I put a link to it). Although this one looks a bit cleaner from a UI perspective. Appreciate the tip.

            seth

          • kay

            Personally I use and I love it.

            Call Memo – Smart Dialer
            By MobAxe Software Solutions Ltd.
            View More By This Developer

          • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

            thanks. i’ll give this one a try (as you may have seen from the comment stream, the old app i was using has been discontinued).

          • http://www.rexter.com/ Andy Wilson

            check out http://www.rexter.com — it is all about creating your intelligent daily killer call sheet (what you need to do wrt outbound). we started 2 years ago and release to the public next week. curious to see what people think.

  • http://freepository.com John Minnihan

    Sounds like ACT Mobile, tho it [amazingly] isn’t avail for iOS:nhttp://www.act.com/Products-and-Services/Connected-Services/sage-mobile-for-actnnHere’s a list of contact managers for iphone:nnhttp://www.brighthub.com/mobile/iphone/articles/72711.aspxnnTho it isn’t clear whether or how any of those help with managing *calls*.

  • Derek

    InEntertainment has a great system that us folks in Hollywood use.

  • http://www.activetheoryinc.com Alex Gourley

    Good idea for a “startup weekend” sized project.

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      Alex – That’s perfect. This would be a great StartupWeekend project forrnsure.

  • Erica

    Seth, give Evernote a try. It has a great iPhone/iPad app and syncs with my MacBook as well. Personally I use it for a call list, just as you are hoping, but it does a lot of other cool stuff that I use occasionally. Mostly grabbing stuff from the web and tagging it to my “to call” note, to reference when I call them back. It’s a good tool.

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      Great. I’ll give that a try (tried Evernote years ago for keeping boardrnnotes straight, but it never really ingrained itself in my work cycle).rnrnThanks for the tip!

      • http://www.startups-london.com Chris

        I was about to suggest Evernote – glad someone got there first… I also think it could be improved though, it doesn’t quite do everything you are looking for Seth but it does provide some additional functionality that I have become addicted too. It definitely improves productivity – I definitely think you should give it another crack!u00a0

  • Anonymous

    u00a0Sounds like a similar frustration for me on a “to visit” list when I go to different cities. u00a0Evernote can give you a long list…but what it sounds like you need (and I do too) is a backlog list that may get triggered around certain frequencies of contact or context tags (E.g., industry, city)

  • Peter Thomas

    Hi Seth – your description sums upu00a0Sylphone.u00a0www.sylphone.comnnSylphone is an Android app that we launched in late January. We created it first for us, to help us make more sales calls, faster, and manage our client list, especially on the move, often in the car. We wanted 1 click for multiple actions, and client notes read back to us next time we called that client.nnLater, when we realised that other people needed the same, so we integrated it with Salesforce and SugarCRMnnTake a quick look and let me know what you think.

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      Thanks Peter. I’m on iPhone but I’ll get my hands on an android to take arnlook. Any plans to port to iOS any time soon?

      • Peter Thomas

        We’ve discussed going cross-platform – to iPhone and Blackberry.u00a0It really depends on funds and demand.

  • Ryan Frederick

    u00a0Hi Seth. If you end up not finding what you are looking for in the options provided already, we would be interested in discussing the app with you further to see if it makes sense to engage on development. Regards, Ryan. ryan.frederick@awh:disqusu00a0.net; 614.537.8000

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      will do. i’ve had a few people send me apps that they think will solvernthe issue. but we’ll see.rnrn——————rnseth j levinernfoundry grouprnwww.sethlevine.comrntwitter @setherrnrnsent from my iphone-sorry for any typos

  • http://www.cosmetici-on-line.info cosmetici

    u00a0try a search like “crm”

  • Eliot

    I’ve searched hi and low for something better than a slightly custom FileMaker Pro database.u00a0 Usually the ones I come across are so feature heavy that the basic call log is impossible to use.nnHaving the web front end or even Adobe Air that will allow for the standard assistant/boss relationship would be amazing.

  • http://www.iheartcleantech.com Alex Lloyd

    u00a0Since no one has mentioned it yet – Omnifocus is the obvious choice for me. They have an iphone app and an program for macs. It’s a general task manager and will do a lot more than just phone calls if you want it to, but it willu00a0definitelyu00a0manage your “to call list”. I have a bunch of lists of people to call andu00a0separateu00a0them by time zone so I can still make calls in the evening if I know it will be morning in Europe. You can also schedule the calls to appear in your to call list after a certain date (like when the person gets back from holidays). There is a bit of a learning curve, but there are also lots of tutorials on the net. Check it out. The program has been a huge help for me.u00a0them by time zone so I can still make calls in the evening if I know it will be morning in Europe. You can also schedule the calls to appear in your to call list after a certain date (like when the person gets back from holidays). There is a bit of a learning curve, but there are also lots of tutorials on the net. Check it out. The program has been a huge help for me.

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      Thanks Alex. I’ll check it out. Is there any easy way for someone else tornadd tasks/calls to your list (i.e., my assistant could manage this for me)?

      • http://www.iheartcleantech.com Alex Lloyd

        I think so, it synchs via Bonjour, so whenever you’re on the same wireless network it would synch up. I can also synch with programs like Google Calander, so I am pretty sure there would be a way, but I’m not 100% how

  • http://startupgrognard.tumblr.com Greg Leman

    It would also be nice if an app could navigate a conference call log in.u00a0 I’d settle for the old time ##,, format from the old days, but ideally I could schedule a recurring call and put in the conference number, password, and have it speak my name.

  • Andy CEO Graphight

    Great post and right on point. u00a0We started working on graphight (www.graphight.com) last fall and are now in private beta. u00a0Our first product is a smart call list that is based on tracking who you know and how well you know them. u00a0It is a bit more strategic in that is makes sure that you are investing both developing new high potential relationships while also keep in touch with existing high value relationships so they don’t go dormant. u00a0Our platform monitors all emails, meetings and calendar events so the list can be automatically be updated based on what you are doing. u00a0We are now crafting the next version that will support scheduled follow-ups as well projects where you have particular groups of contacts that you want to “work” in order to get something specific done. u00a0Effectively we will be creating an “integrated relationship to do’s list.” u00a0I’d love to set a call and do a demo for anyone who might want a preview esp as we continue to iterate on future products/product road maps. u00a0Andy (awilson@graphight.com)

  • Anonymous

    Seth – Thank you for your post. u00a0I believe you have justu00a0eloquentlyu00a0described our service PhoneSheet. (www.phonesheet.com). u00a0PhoneSheet is the popular term in Hollywood used to described “call list managers”, and we have been building PhoneSheets for producers, agents and studio executives for years.nnPhoneSheet is a web and mobile application that was originally designed to replace paper “while you were out messages”. u00a0It has since evolved into an easy-to-use application that organizes and simplifies your phone work. u00a0I’m the CEO and founder of the company, and I’d love to personally walk you through about how it can do almost everything you asked for. u00a0nnJust as you described, PhoneSheet will let you create your list of calls to make, return, and follow-up on. u00a0You can enter important notes for each call. u00a0When you leave the office, you call list goes with you on your mobile device with the PhoneSheet mobile app (BlackBerry app available now. u00a0iPhone coming in July). u00a0And if your assistant stays back at the office answering the phone, you don’t have to call the office to ask, “Who called while I was out?” You’reu00a0receivingu00a0that information automatically through your PhoneSheet mobile app.nnThere are numerous other features, but I recommend that you check out our video introduction at:u00a0https://www.phonesheet.com/NewIntro.htm.nnThank you again for your post. u00a0Looking forward to feedback and continuing the conversation.nnJan ZandsnCEO, PhoneSheetnjan@phonesheet.comn(800) 504-8479nnn

  • jy177

    Seth, 

    Since you posted this a while ago, has an app filling your needs been developed?  I’ve been looking for the sam app but I haven’t quite found one yet. 

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      I started using something called Call List (search for it in the app store). Not the greatest implementation, but it’s the closest to what I was looking for (hoping he works on the app to make it less buggy…).

  • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

    Seth, I’ve actually been working on solving this problem .. I had the same need.  The design below is the newer version from whats up on http://Clarity.fm – it’s a mobile web app for now (but we take care of calling / cycling / scheduled).

    After reading your blog post I think we need to spend more time on the “post calls” feature but it’s a decent start.  We also have a public profile component for others to schedule time with you (ex: http://clarity.fm/danmartell/schedule )

    Let me know what you think?
    @danmartell:twitter 

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      I like it Dan. Key for me is the ease of use and ability to quickly tick off calls (and ideally on the back end a record of who I called when generated automatically from my click/call behavior).

  • Don Avnet

    I too have been looking for this. It is a gold mine gor a developer
    I have 50 people I need to touch a week
    Another 100 or so monthly
    And I lose track of who I have at least touch based with and who has called me too

  • http://twitter.com/caller_app Caller-App 4 iPhone

    Seth, Caller-App (To Do List for Phone Calls – AppStore Link http://www.bit.ly/caller-app) does a lot of what you are writing about:

    ·
    “I
    could easily add people to the call list” – add people to the Call-List
    directly from the Address-Book

    http://www.caller-app.com/functions-features/add

    ·
    “the
    number I needed to call them on” – assign any of the person’s phone numbers to
    the Call

    ·
    “any
    other information I thought might be helpful at the time of the call” – add a
    topic to the Call

    ·
    “I’d
    connect the calls from within the app itself” – one click on the list initiates
    the Call

    http://www.caller-app.com/functions-features/call-persons-from-call-list

    ·
    “Once
    done with the click of a button should be able to mark the call as complete” –
    automatic checkmark for done Calls

    ·
    “forward
    to another Call List Manager user to add to their call list” – export Call-list
    via eMail, Dropbox, Evernote

    http://www.caller-app.com/functions-features/export-share-print-list

    Best
    Stefan @stbe

  • http://twitter.com/caller_app Caller-App 4 iPhone

    Hello Seth

    here are
    some of the features that you talked about and that we designed into Caller-App – iTunes: http://www.bit.ly/caller-app

    ·
    “I
    could easily add people to the call list” – add people to the Call-List
    directly from the Address-Book – http://www.caller-app.com/functions-features/add

    ·
    “the
    number I needed to call them on” – assign any of the person’s phone numbers from the Address Book to
    the Call

    ·
    “any
    other information I thought might be helpful at the time of the call” – add a
    topic to the Call

    ·
    “I’d
    connect the calls from within the app itself” – one click on the list initiates
    the Call – http://www.caller-app.com/functions-features/call-persons-from-call-list

    ·
    “Once
    done with the click of a button should be able to mark the call as complete” –
    automatic checkmark for done Calls

    ·
    “forward
    to another Call List Manager user to add to their call list” – export Call-list
    via eMail, Dropbox, Evernote – http://www.caller-app.com/functions-features/export-share-print-list

    Best regards
    Stefan

  • http://twitter.com/caller_app Caller-App 4 iPhone

    Seth,
    here are some of the features that you talked about
    and that we designed into Caller-App – iTunes Link http://www.bit.ly/caller-app

    _ “I could easily add people to the call list” – add
    people to the Call-List directly from the Address-Book – http://www.caller-app.com/functions-features/add

    _ “the number I needed to call them on” – assign any of
    the person’s phone numbers to the Call

    _ “any other information I thought might be helpful at
    the time of the call” – add a topic to the Call

    _ “I’d connect the calls from within the app itself” –
    one click on the list initiates the Call

    http://www.caller-app.com/functions-features/call-persons-from-call-list

    _ “Once done with the click of a button should be able
    to mark the call as complete” – automatic checkmark for done Calls

    _ “forward to another Call List Manager user to add to
    their call list” – export Call-list via eMail, Dropbox, Evernote – http://www.caller-app.com/functions-features/export-share-print-list

    Best regards
    Stefan from Caller-App

  • http://twitter.com/grahambunting Graham Bunting

    Interesting thread here and curious to know if there was ever an “outcome” driven from it? I too am frustrated by a best fit solution to what must be a universal issue especially as we are all increasingly mobile. Would love to hear if there was someone who took the challenge?

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      Graham – there is now an app in the app store called “Call List Manager” that is a basic version of what I was talking about. Not 100% of the way there, but for a quick fix, it’s very workable.

  • Geoffrey

    Hi Seth, looking for the same app. Did you find it yet?

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      Unfortunately no. There was one app that I started to use but it was discontinued.

  • http://twitter.com/dlisbona dlisbona

    The best I’ve found is “Call U Later”

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      What’s the URL? I wasn’t able to find it.

      seth

  • Chief

    Same problem. I used to use iDialDrive. Worked well but they havent updated it since 2009. Now I use “callPlease” for IOS. It works, has a web front end as well, can be accessed by an assistant .. its ok but not as slick as iDialUDrive was. Hope it helps.

    • Nicolas Zein

      Hello I developped an app called callit that i was really proud of since this was my basic need too as a business owner and entrepreneur but i couldn’t market it. here is the site. I might relaunch it if it gets traction.http://www.callit-app.com/

  • Jozsef A. Bayer

    I have the impression that this topic still be unsolved on Winphone and Android.

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      I’ve settled on an iOS app called “Callist” which works pretty well. I don’t know if there’s an adroid or windows version out yet.

  • Ron Ferens

    Hi Seth,
    I’ve just finished working on my Android app which aims to solve this exact problem. The application is called – “I’ll Be back”, and it is designed to let you manage the calls that you want to make sure you call back when you have the time.
    You can find the app on Google Play ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jellyfish.illbeback )
    This is of course the first version of the application. In the near future, I would like to add enhancements like priority level.
    Would love to hear your comments.
    Hope you find it useful :-)