Markets in everything: customer service edition

by on September 4, 2006 at 7:53 am in Economics | Permalink

Stephen Dubner reports:

Now there’s a new website, still in beta, called Bringo! (a.k.a. NoPhoneTrees.com),
which takes a different approach. Here’s how one of its founders,
Marcin Musiolik, describes the project: “Our mission is to help users
skip phone trees and connect with a real human on the customer support
phone lines at many companies throughout the U.S.  Users simply choose
the company they wish to call, and we’ll dial the company directly,
navigate their phone tree, and call them back when they are in queue
for an operator or customer service representative.”

David Malmstrom September 4, 2006 at 12:30 pm

Novel idea, I think it will be a while before it catches on, especially phone trees that require personal information… I mean how does it work? Do you have to do a mini interview each time you call so they can forward your information? I think it would be faster to just look up (in the company’s directory) an extension and dial directly.

Jeff Brown September 4, 2006 at 2:58 pm

David: I would guess that the auto-navigator just tries to get you to a live person, skipping through all the “enter your personal information” nonsense. I’ve entered that stuff hundreds of times, and almost invariably, when I get to a real person, they ask me to repeat it.

Peter: You’re pointing out a possible flaw in the plan of anyone who wants to call customer service, but it’s not a flaw in Bringo’s idea. If we start from the assumption that people call these phone trees in the first place, it’s reasonable to think someone might pay to have this done for them.

anon September 5, 2006 at 5:56 pm

According to liberterian economic theory this problem should not exist. Competiton should have eliminated any private firm that was this inefficent. Only government can be this wasteful.

guild wars gold August 28, 2007 at 2:00 am
BonifaasPim February 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm

This is a new concept and it might even work. I would gladly run for a cheap clothing offer instead of running the phone trees and I might even pay for someone to do that for me.

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