One company wants to reinvent customer service by taking one giant step backwards

One company wants to reinvent customer service by taking one giant step backwards

August 5, 2018

How many times have you been frustrated by calling a customer service number to speak with a person only to end up in a continuous loop of prompts that ask you to press this button or that button?

One company is trying to reinvent how businesses approach customer care by going old school — connecting its customers with humans instead of robots.

At a recent press event in Charleston, South Carolina, T-Mobile’s executive team took to the stage to announce the company was rolling out a “Team of Experts” for its customers — the company’s new customer-service model.

Essentially, T-Mobile is attempting to make calling customer service less of a hassle. Rather than having to explain your issue repeatedly each time you get transferred to a new representative, you’ll have what the company refers to as an “elite care squad” assigned to you specifically. That way, every time you call or message T-Mobile, you’re directed to the same team, which knows your region and preferences.

The new model is the company’s response to the Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) most businesses use. IVR is that robot that forces you to press number after number in order to reach the right department. Even when you do reach a representative, you’re often directed to someone else who actually specializes in the issue, which is known as “call bouncing.”

“Forty percent of calls today to customer service in this country get transferred,” said Mike Siever, T-Mobile president and chief operating officer, at the event.

By providing a Team of Experts, T-Mobile is attempting to cut this experience out completely. Every team member is trained to handle a wide range of topics — sometimes working with local retail and engineers to solve more complex issues. Since each team member also sits in close proximity to one another at T-Mobile’s call centers, information is easily accessible and you won’t be transferred.

Customers are able to call their Team of Experts 24/7 and can also schedule a call at a more convenient time. There’s also the option to schedule a call through T-Mobile’s app and iMessage. If you can’t take a call, you can write to the team with your issue and they’ll get started working on it.

To be able to route customers to their specific team, the carrier needed the right technology. That’s where LivePerson comes in — the company develops products specifically for online messaging.

T-Mobile’s Team of Experts program is now live for free for T-Mobile postpaid customers. Customers can reach their team by dialing 611 from their T-Mobile phone or send a message via the app or iMessage using Apple Business Chat.

T-Mobile also announced that it’s partnering with Live Nation. Customers will be able to purchase tickets to sold-out events, and gain fast-lane entry and more to concerts and shows across the country. Subscribers will also receive a year of Pandora Plus for free through the T-Mobile Tuesdays app starting August 21.

When Toys “R” Us announced plans to close all 735 of its U.S. stores back in March, it wasn’t exactly a surprise as sales and marketplace shares were lost to online companies like Amazon. This past Friday the harsh reality hit home as Geoffrey the Giraffe said his final goodbyes and like Lionel Playworld / Kiddie City and KB Toys before them, Toys “R” Us closed forever affecting close to 30,000 employees.

But as one major toy brand rides off into the sunset, another is rising from the ashes.