Customer Service: When Technology Fails and When Technology Thrives


I was recently calling AT&T for a customer service issue. What bothered me was not the stream of buttons I had to press.
The biggest problem was that after entering my information (more than once) I was then transferred to an account rep and had to repeat my information all over again.
When I asked to speak to a supervisor, you know what? They didn’t have anyone for me to speak to (in this particular department) but a supervisor has to call me back.
This is a clear example of technology (interactive voice response system) that is NOT serving the customer’s need.
AT&T saves money by limiting the number of calls it receives, but it results in VERY, VERY frustrated customers. Earthlink and other companies are doing it right.
If you hang out on the web site of Verizon Wireless for a certain amount of time, a window pops up, asking if you want customer service, via live chat.
Earthlink announced that they can now identify and engage site visitors most likely to abandon self-help or call for assistance and proactively offer an immediate, live, text-based chat with a customer support expert.
By proactively offering live chat assistance to customers, EarthLink increased agent productivity by 14 percent during the initial implementation and realized customer satisfaction levels seven percent higher than similar service channels.
LivePerson is powering Earthlink’s live chat feature, as well as many other web site live chat support sessions.
Thinking back to my experience with AT&T, I wish there was a live chat feature on their web site. Interestingly enough, At&T so desperately does NOT wan to receive calls that there is no number easily available on their web site.
If you want to GROW your business and endear your customers to you, make sure you offer great support – on and offline.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook