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T-Mobile's Team of Experts

T-Mobile is making wireless service more personal. The company announced a new customer service initiative called "Team of Experts" designed to route support calls to tight groups of empowered staffers, rather than dividing teams by purpose or sending customers through the frustrating automated maze of using interactive voice response (IVR) systems.

"Ninety percent of customers say they don't want to deal with an IVR, and they don't want to talk to a phone bank," T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert said.

The company's new approach will not just connect you to staff who can supposedly actually fix your problem, but it'll do it on your terms. T-Mobile will let you asynchronously text message with humans (as opposed to being stuck in a 'live chat') and, rather than put you on hold, will let customers set a time to be called back. Other companies have made some of these innovations, for sure, but T-Mobile is making a big deal out of being the first big wireless carrier to do so.

The improved service approach is now available to T-Mobile postpaid customers, the company said, by calling 611 or using the T-Mobile app. T-Mobile execs said support staff will be graded on whether they solved customer problems, not how quickly they can get rid of callers.

"This is the end of the call center runaround," T-Mobile's EVP of customer service, Callie Field said.

T-Mobile used to be known for its customer service. According to an annual studydone by the University of Michigan, between 2008-2010, the pre-Uncarrier placed second or tied for first in terms of customer satisfaction before plummeting during its ill-fated attempt to merge with AT&T.

In this year's JD Power Wireless Customer Care Study, T-Mobile came out on top. While the carrier has recovered in recent years, it can be very hard for a company to shake a reputation built during a downturn.

Using human customer service staffers means hiring a lot more people than if you're using bots, and continuing to hire more people as you gain customers.

T-Mobile has promised that the merger would create jobs, not destroy them.

But that goes against the history of mergers, which tend to find savings by firing duplicative staff. Hiring a ton of customer service agents and pitching it as a competitive advantage makes T-Mobile look like a real job creator as it goes up for government approval of its merger.

Sprint doesn't use Team of Experts, meaning the carrier would likely have to staff up to match the new T-Mobile approach. T-Mobile probably knows exactly how many people Sprint would need to hire to come up to par. That lets T-Mobile dangle concrete job growth plans over the government's head as a carrot. That's a smart political play.


#tmobile #Sprint #verizon #att #atampt #CustomerService #611

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