T-Mobile Wants to Make Its Customer Service More Human

At a media event in Charleston, S.C., earlier this week, T-Mobile CEO John Legere revealed that the company was on a mission to reinvent its approach to customer service, relying less on IVR and chatbots and more on dedicated customer support teams.

To handle interactions with customers, T-Mobile is building “Teams of Experts” consisting of 30 to 40 people, with each team assigned to a specific part of the country. The number of teams for each area will be proportional to the number of customers, so large metropolitan areas like New York City, for example, will get more people and teams allocated to serve customers.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Legere took a dig at IVR:

“‘Your call is important to us’ are the six emptiest words ever robo-spoken....[T-Mobile is] killing the phone menu and putting people at the center of customer care, like they should be.”

The company has been applauded for its customer service, receiving recognition from J.D. Power and others for its customer satisfaction. But T-Mobile is determined to keep improving its practices.

“The way [customer service is] being done today is the way it’s been done for about the last 30 years, which is when IVR was invented,” Nick Drake, executive vice president of marketing and experience for T-Mobile, told AdWeek. “Really the only innovation that’s occurred over the last 30 years is the optimization of the IVR, but those optimizations are only done from a corporate perspective, ‘How can we save more money for ourselves?’ versus ‘How can we serve our customers better?’ A few years ago, we took a step back and said, ‘Is there a better way? Can we serve customers to give them a better experience while also using modern technology to bring that experience to life?’”

Changes are already taking place at the company’s 17 call centers around the country. Not only will customers now have an easier time speaking with live agents, but they’ll also be able to see a photo of their agents if they’re calling from their mobile devices. It’s all in an effort to build more personal relationships between the company and its users.

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