EMBARQ customers who now call 1-800-EMBARQ2 during business hours to speak with a customer service representative will be greeted by a live person instead of the company's interactive voice response (IVR) system.
The nationwide trial was put into place to see if customers prefer this new approach to customer service. The EMBARQ representatives answering the phone are located in the company's North Carolina office and, like most EMBARQ customer service representatives, are not outsourced, overseas.
Representatives will greet customers to find out their questions or concerns and then direct them to the appropriate person. If there will be a delay in speaking with that person, the representative will tell the customer how long the wait will be.
"We're committed to providing the best possible service for our customers," said Bob Crawford, director of customer satisfaction for EMBARQ. "Customer surveys show that consumers are dissatisfied with automated customer care, so we are conducting this trial to see if our customers agree."
Yankee Group's Anywhere Consumer: 2007 US Communications/Customer Satisfaction Survey (July 2007) shows that the biggest frustration in dealing with companies is long hold times, confusing automated menus and being transferred too many times.
"Our research shows that consumers prefer a live agent for telephone support because many of today's automated systems are missing the mark in terms of customer expectations," said Sheryl Kingstone, director of enterprise research for Yankee Group. "We applaud EMBARQ for seeing the opportunity to make positive changes that could enhance the customer service experience."
EMBARQ wants its customers to be completely satisfied at the end of each call with an EMBARQ representative. Customers who are not can call the EMBARQ Consumer Affairs Hotline at 800-877-3345 (option 3) and talk to a representative Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time to discuss their unresolved issues. During non-business hours and weekends, the company pledges it will return calls within 24 hours and begin work on a resolution.
"If you hang up the phone and are upset for any reason, we want another chance to make you happy," said Crawford.
As an alternative to calling a customer service representative, EMBARQ customers with questions may now be able to "see" their answers on the company's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/embarq. From this site, customers can watch videos with step-by-step instructions on a variety of topics such as how to install EMBARQ High-Speed Internet, set up an EMBARQ account and use EMBARQ e-mail as well as see product demonstration videos. EMBARQ representatives also can actively listen and respond to customer questions and concerns.To show their dedication to satisfying customers, EMBARQ also launched a new website where customers can provide feedback for company executives. By going to www.embarq.com/feedback, customers can provide comments on the company's products, services or customer service and support. EMBARQ executives want to know what customers think and will be closely monitoring the feedback as they work on making improvements within the company.
Comment from Wireless and Mobile News:
Embarq was recently acquired by Centurytel for $5.8 billion, and it's new owner may not want to spend the money for live, YouTube or web help.