• Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Google tests a feature that calls businesses on your behalf and holds until an agent is available

Google's AI-assisted NotebookLM note-taking app is now open to users in the US


Google is testing a new feature that will place a call to a business on your behalf, wait on hold and then give you a call once a live representative is available, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. The new feature, called “Talk to a Live Rep,” would get rid of the need for users to wait countless minutes, and sometimes hours, listening to hold music trying to get connected to a customer service agent.

The company says the feature is now available in English for people in the U.S. who have joined Search Labs, its program for users to experiment with early-stage Google Search experiences, and opted into the Talk to a Live Rep experiment. It works on the Google app for Android and iOS, as well as Chrome on desktop.

The news was first reported by 9to5Google.

Although Talk to a Live Rep is similar to the Pixel’s “Hold for Me” feature, Google says there are some differences, noting that while some of the underlying technology is the same, Talk to a Live Rep goes one step further. With Talk to a Live Rep, Google’s systems will navigate the phone tree for you and then call you back when a customer service agent is available. Hold for Me can only be activated once you’re already on hold and waiting for customer service to take your call.

Plus, while Hold for Me is only supported on Pixel phones, Talk to a Live Rep is available on all devices. In addition, because Talk to a Live Rep asks you for the reason of the call, the customer service representative will already know why you’re calling the company, removing yet another step in the process.

Some businesses already offer a call-back option where you call them, secure your place in line and then get a call back when a representative is available. Talk to a Live Rep proactively calls the business on your behalf, getting rid of the need for you to enable the whole process yourself. With Talk to a Live Rep, you only need to pick up your phone when the company is available to talk to you.

When you search for a company’s customer support number, Google will display a “Request a call” button if the business is supported. From there, you can select the reason for your call. Google will then send you SMS updates about its progress and will then call you once a customer representative is available to speak with you.

The feature is currently available for a handful of airlines, telecom companies, retailers, insurance companies and other services. The supported businesses include Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Best Buy, Costco, Walmart, Boost Mobile, Samsung, ADT, Instacart, UPS, Zelle, State Farm and more.

As with any other experimental feature, it’s unknown when Talk to a Live Rep will reach a wider audience.



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