Saying that their aim is to give customers more control over their long-distance, wireless and Internet accounts, AT&T unveiled a new customer service online site Tuesday.
The site is an obvious response to the tele-communications giant’s recognition that its e-commerce potential is expanding as its customers get more and more used to settling accounts and buying services online.
AT&T vice-president Anne Gordon said that online sales of its services have spiked up 30 percent since March. In response, the company developed the new site to build “electronic relationships” with its customers.
The site allows customers to sort through all their long-distance calls — by phone number, date or location — and identify the phone number that appears on their online bill. Customers can also request a credit for any phone calls they dispute and click a conference call button to talk to an AT&T representative.
Online users, who are required to register and receive a username and password, can also choose from a number of AT&T calling plans and can eliminate paper phone bills by opting to pay online.
Selling Its Customer Service
“Relationships are built on trust,” said Gordon. “That’s why we are giving customers more control over their accounts. People want more control over when, where and how they interact with family, friends and businesses. An online relationship gives them that control and the convenience of one-stop shopping that everyone has been talking about for so long.”
Anyone who sees this as an act of corporate benevolence designed to make the customer’s life easier and more blissful is probably ready to wear that Motley Fool hat. AT&T is a $53 billion (US$) a year company that is clearly aware of how to make money — and knows full well that an online buyer will pay for convenience.
The company is selling that convenience with a customer service ribbon. Touting its customer service as a “relationship,” AT&T says all inquiries and correspondence between customers and AT&T reps can be conducted via conference calls or e-mail and a response via e-mail will be sent back within 24 hours.